Planning to help unlock Barnstaple’s potential

Barnstaple Flood Cell map

Posted on: 14 July 2015

The next stage of a project looking at options for improving flood defences in Barnstaple has been completed.

At a briefing today (Monday 13 July), North Devon district and Barnstaple town councillors were updated on a recently completed study, which looks at different options for improving the town’s flood defences for the next 60 to 100 years.

Improving flood defences will protect existing properties and businesses in the town. It will also help promote economic growth and development by freeing up sites that currently wouldn’t be suitable for development, due to flood risk.

Possible options include:

  • improving existing defences along the River Taw, River Yeo and Coney Gut and putting in place new ones
  • incorporating flood defences into new building and development designs
  • providing property level protection for those already in flood risk areas

Leader of North Devon Council, Councillor Des Brailey, says: “Barnstaple is the sub regional centre of northern Devon, so it’s important that we do what we can to protect those areas at risk of flooding. By doing so it will then allow us to re-develop key sites in the town, which at the moment is not possible.”

NDC’s Lead Member for the Environment, Councillor Rodney Cann, says: “Now that the study is complete, I believe it will be an investment in the future of Barnstaple. It’s not often realised that under current constraints the core of Barnstaple wouldn’t be allowed to be built today as it is on a flood plain. This is a step towards securing the future and enabling us to develop some previously developed land, which has remained dormant for many years.”

Flood Risk Engineer at the Environment Agency, Simon Dart, says: “We welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with Devon County Council and North Devon Council to help promote significant regeneration in Barnstaple by reducing the flood risk to large areas of the town and unlocking difficult development sites. This will continue the good work already started with the flood defence improvements at Anchorwood.”

Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for flood prevention, Councillor Stuart Hughes, says: “The Barnstaple flood study has been a great example of how different local authorities and agencies have worked in partnership to deliver a study that will promote the increased flood resilience of residents in Devon. The project team, made up of staff from these organisations and the engineering consultancy JBA, have been able to pull together their individual knowledge and expertise to ensure a high quality document that will be of real use to promote future defence improvements.”

The study looks at six different areas in the town known as cells. It explains what the most appropriate types of defences are for each cell, when they would be needed, potential costs and how to link them to the future development of sites in the town. The study has been funded by North Devon Council and Devon County Council in partnership with the Environment Agency.

The next steps will be to carry out a public and stakeholder consultation later this year and to look at potential funding sources for the improvements.

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Posted in: Environment | Planning