North East Connected

Community event marks flood scheme official opening

A community celebration to officially open Brunton Park flood scheme in Newcastle has seen residents young and old join in the fun.

The event – held at St Aidan’s Community Centre at Princes Road on Monday – included cake, face painting, children’s activities and information stands as well as a wildlife area to find out more the wildlife in and around the River Ouseburn.

There were tours of the £7 million scheme so residents could find out more about how the risk of flooding has been reduced.

And to mark the officially opening, Northumbrian Water, the Environment Agency and North Gosforth Parish Council planted a tree at Lincoln Green.

Northumbrian Water and the Environment Agency began the £7 million joint flood reduction scheme in October 2014. It is the first time in the UK that a water company has done construction work on behalf of the Environment Agency.

The scheme reduces the risk of flooding to more than 100 properties in Mitford Gardens, Princes Close, Fairway Close, Princes Road, Waterbury Road and Clayworth Road.

The three sources of flooding in Brunton Park were from the water company’s surface and foul sewer networks and from the River Ouseburn.

Work involved installing 380 metres of new river channel to divert the Ouseburn from the area that suffers from flooding; using the current section of Ouseburn river channel and a new storage basin to drain and store more than seven million litres of surface water; constructing 650 metres of flood defences (walls and earth embankment) and installing two kilometres of new sewer pipe and a new storage tank, which holds up to 450,000 litres of storm sewage.

The newly created river channel and storage basin, known as SuDS (sustainable urban drainage system), has also created a valuable wetland habitat for wildlife. Kingfisher perches and an otter holt will also be installed.

Paul Davison, Northumbrian Water’s project manager, said: “After two years it’s been great to show the residents what we have been doing and how this project will reduce the risk of flooding to their homes. The community’s response to our presence in Brunton Park for such a long time has been fantastic, so this was a chance to thank them for their patience.

“Reducing the risk of flooding is one of Northumbrian Water’s key priorities and the partnership approach taken at Brunton Park, working in this unique way with the Environment Agency, has led to an innovative approach to tackling flood risk for the benefit of this fantastic community.”

Tina Robinson, Project Manager for the Environment Agency, added: “The celebration event was a great way of saying thank you to the local community for their patience and co-operation throughout, and to give them a chance to see first-hand the work that has been done to reduce their flood risk.

“The Brunton Park scheme is an excellent example of how working in partnership, and tackling flooding at all its sources, can result in an integrated and sustainable solution.”

The play park on Lincoln Green had to be removed while this work was carried out. A new play park has been built, in partnership with Newcastle City Council, North Gosforth Parish Council and the local community.

Parish councillor Val Hay said: “The event was a lovely occasion for residents, Northumbrian Water, the Environment Agency and ourselves at the parish council to come together to celebrate the opening of the Brunton Park Flood Alleviation Scheme.

“Planting the last silver birch was also the culmination of the restoration of the Village Green, which had been affected for nearly two years due to the scheme.”

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