Pressure now on town to dig deep for help with the flood mitigation

Southwell flood.'Bridget Vint in Easthorpe News where she works.
Southwell flood.'Bridget Vint in Easthorpe News where she works.

Voluntary organisation Southwell Flood Forum has been working since August last year to support those affected and applying for help from Nottinghamshire County Council and other agencies to improve the capacity of water courses and drainage in the town.

And the county council is now in the process of applying for a grant of £1.8m from central government to help install vital flood defences but the community is required to contribute in order to qualify.

Katy Todd, fundraiser at Southwell Flood Forum, said: “We have not been told how much this amount is, as no-one knows yet how much the measures will cost, but we know they will be expensive.

“We have set a target of £125,000, but Southwell has no local industry to help us qualify so we have to look to ourselves if we want to push this forward.

“If the amount required turns out to be less than what we have raised that is good, but if it is more we will just have to work harder.”

Katy said most people were now back in their properties but some were still struggling.

“We are not a big city, where there are lots of resources,” said Katy.

“Ordinary people have been affected. Many of them have lost a huge amount of money and the excess for their insurance is tens of thousands of pounds.”

Since last year’s floods the forum volunteers have put in hundreds of hours to help clear the natural water courses in the valleys surrounding the town of debris which could wash downstream and cause a dam.

Southwell is a basin surrounded by shallow valleys, and many in the town believe its dykes and drains are unable to cope when such extreme weather events.

Said Katy: “There are promontories of hills with water courses coming down into the town. Water cascades down these dumbles, which are very wide, bringing floods and debris with them.

“We need to keep this water upstream and are keen to explore ways to keep it do it.”

Southwell Flood Forum’s contribution will join those of other partners in the grant bid, including Nottinghanshire County Council, Southwell Town Council, and Newark and Sherwood District Council.

Andy Wallace, Nottinghamshire County Council’s flood risk manager, said: “This is only an indicative bid and we are in the very early stages of putting it together,

“We hope very much we will get some indication that the bid is being supported by government and if insufficient funding is raised by any one member of the partnership we will work with all partners to explore other avenues.”

The forum is organising a number of fundraising events to help raise money for the grant.

Southwell Flood Fest at the Memorial Playing Field is on 19th July. The free event will feature live music, a barbecue and bar, welly-wanging, and a tug o’war tournament.

There will also be flood protection displays.

If you would like a stall at this event, please phone Katy on 01636 819233.