Drop-in session planned for flood-prone Essex village

RESIDENT of Steeple Bumpstead are being invited to share their views on the latest designs for a scheme to help protect their homes from flooding.

Following a study into why the area is affected by flooding, the Environment Agency is investigating designs for a flood alleviation scheme for the village.

Villagers shared their views and concerns at an exhibition earlier in the year and the Environment Agency now wants to hear what people think about the latest designs ahead of submitting the planning application.

The event will give people the chance to see the latest proposal and talk to members of the project team. It is being held at the Congregational Church Lecture Hall, Chapel Street, Steeple Bumpstead, between 10am and 3pm tomorrow (Saturday November 27).

Environment Agency flood risk manager Richard Houghton said: “We have been really pleased with the interest shown by the community so far in helping us achieve the best solution for the village.”

Proposals for the Steeple Bumpstead scheme include increasing the capacity of Bumpstead Brook where it runs through the village and replacing various highway and access bridges across the river.

Steeple Bumpstead currently has a low standard of protection against flooding and some houses have up to a 50 per cent chance of flooding during the course of a year. The scheme would help reduce this to a four per cent chance, reducing the frequency of flooding and lessening the impact on peoples’ lives, homes, businesses and the local road network.

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Mr Houghton said: “We urge people to come along and see how their views have helped to shape the latest proposals, meet with members of the project team and give us their feedback and ideas.

If planning permission for the scheme is successful, the Environment Agency hopes to start construction in spring 2011.

• Steeple Bumpstead formed as a settlement around the confluence of two rivers – Bumpstead Brook which flows through the village from the south-west and Helions Brook which joins Bumpstead Brook as it enters the village. There are no raised defences along the rivers’ length meaning that the village, and the adjacent hamlets of Smiths Green and Broad Green, have experienced flooding on a number of occasions.

• Residents have suffered as a result, property and roads have been damaged and highway routes have been closed. When 21 properties were flooded in 2007, we started to look at ways in which flood risk to the village could be reduced. This scheme is the result of those investigations.