Southwell Flood Forum members have had a number of meetings with high profile politicians in these busy pre-by-election weeks.
They’ve all been very impressed with the way the Flood Forum is working hard to make a difference and gathered such tremendous momentum. They heard personal stories about the long-term impact of flooding and how people do not want to live with the threat of inundation whenever it rains. Penny Rainbow, a Southwell Town Councillor greatly appreciated how much had been achieved by the Forum.
Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for DEFRA, made two visits to hear about the flooding in Southwell. He is now fully aware of our problem and assured us that we are doing all the right things.
Mark Bertolini and Katy Todd were invited on behalf of the Forum, along with other organisations in Newark, to meet the Prime Minister in Newark. David Cameron accepted that we had been forgotten during the drama of the winter floods and repeated an earlier statement – “We are looking very closely and very hard as to whether we should back-date the flood support schemes” Repair and Renew grants for property level protection after the by-election.
George Osborne visited Cherrie and Jim, landlords of the Bramley pub with a few members of the local community and Jacky Huson of the Forum. The pub is finally, after 10 ½ months, nearing completion of the reparation work following devastating damage in the flood.
The Chancellor said “there is a huge community spirit here in Southwell which I will take away as a very strong impression of the place. I think there is an incredibly powerful case for this flood defence to be funded.”
Thank you to everyone who has made donations to the Flood Fund and to the organisations who are holding fundraising events, we should reach a significant point towards our target before long.
Ideas put forward at the community meeting on 10th April were added to a long list of potential options which are now being considered. Short-listed solutions will be tested by the URS model. Members of the Flood Forum have visited up and running schemes on the Upper Soar in Leicestershire, where land management projects, similar to those that may be used in Southwell, are in place to help reduce flooding in villages down stream. The principal partners involved are the Trent Rivers Trust, Leicestershire County Council, the Environment Agency. Some of our solutions will be similar to these and will be funded and managed by partnership organisations. These type of ‘soft-engineered’ projects yield multiple benefits to the environment and have community amenity value as well as reducing the risk of flooding.
Green Gym working parties have been making sure dykes, ditches and drains are in working order while training for the Tug o’ War competition on 19th July.
They have been working across town from Southwell Trail and along Potwell Dyke, where sadly dumping of garden waste has continued. Volunteers cleared fallen trees and silt to prevent flooding at Westhorpe.
At Fiskerton Road and Crink Lane they were joined by allotment holders to dig out dry ditches unearthing drainage pipes that NCC will clear so water runs into an existing dry pond, slowing down run-off into Easthorpe. At Halam Road the Green Gym cleared a ditch to enable run-off to escape into the holding pond on the Norwood Estate.
There will be a Open Evening at Southwell Library on Wednesday 18th June from 7 – 9 pm when information will be available all aspects of the Flood Forum, including how we can all be more prepared for an incident and start to complete your personal flood plan. There is a cash bar, free delicious nibbles by baked! and free goody bag for first 50 Street Reps to sign up.
Three Road Closure Warden training sessions have taken place so we can act quickly and safely to close roads during flooding, but we still need further Flood and Road Closure wardens as we have possibly the largest and most complex road closure scheme in Europe!! We have taken delivery of County Council signs, cones and lights and now need storage facilities near the road closure points. Contact us or visit our website for more information on 01636 812588, firstname.lastname@example.org
Plans are coming together for the Flood Fest event on Saturday 19th July with music with the Eternal Youth Club and Minster School Jazz Band, fun, water related and dry sports and the first annual Southwell Tug o’ War Championship. There will be a BBQ, licensed bar, ice-cream and displays on Flood Forum progress. The first performance of “The Rain Came Down” specially written by Guy Turner to commemorate the great flood of 2013 will be sung during the afternoon. Words and music are available on the Flood Forum Website and will be sent to schools, churches and other organisations. The biggest massed choir Southwell can muster should make an impressive sound. The words are available on our website. The Flood Fest is organised by Southwell Lions and Rotary with the Flood Forum for the whole Community. Entry is free and a small registration fee to enter the sports will help cover costs. Proceeds will help pay for flood mitigation measures The Flood Fest runs from 1 pm at the Memorial Playing Fields. To be involved and to find out more email: email@example.com or Tel 01636 819233. www.southwellfloodforum.org.uk