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Cumbria’s flood recovery progressing well, says minister

Minister for flood recovery Rosie Winterton welcomed the reopening of Cockermouth’s Main Street this week as proof that Cumbria’s recovery is going well.

Winterton said: “It is good to hear that Cockermouth’s Main Street is open again as is Wordsworth’s House – these are clearly visible signs of recovery. There are firm plans in place for continuing the recovery and the Government remains committed to supporting the recovery process.  

“The Government has committed a total of over £10.7M including the £1M Flood Recovery Grant, over £6M from Transport towards the costs of temporary road, rail and foot access, which has helped the affected parts of the county keep working and going to school.

“The support that the Government has given Cumbria has developed as a result of direct contact with communities, politicians and officials from the area.  This has meant we have been able to tailor and target our support to where it will have most impact. The package includes a both significant financial support but also a variety of expert and technical support and advice.

Progress so far in Cumbria today includes:

  • The Port of Workington is fully operational;
  • Barker Crossing temporary footbridge spanning the River Derwent at Workington has been provided through the Army and Department for Transport;
  • Temporary railway station at Northside is operational reuniting the communities to the north side of Workington with the centre of the town;
  • Rail services between Workington and Maryport are free to users until May 2010;
  • Over 1800 properties were affected, but only about 150 families remain displaced. However, some people are still only living in upstairs of their property while lower floors dry out and they are still getting support from the flood support centre; 
  • 178 business have had grant applications approved totalling over £900,000, and a further seven are under consideration bringing the total to nearly £950,000;
  • Over £400,000 was brought forward from 2010/11 by the Regional Development Agency to promote Cumbria tourism this year instead.

Following the floods of November 18-20 2009 the Government set up a ministerial group chaired by Winterton and attended by ministers from the Departments for Transport, Business Innovation and Science, Environment Farming and Food, Defence, Culture Media and Sport, Work and Pensions, and Children Schools and Families.

Flooding minister Huw Irranca-Davies said:

“I was really impressed with how people have pulled together and the resilience of the businesses [in Cockermouth]. This is a beautiful part of England, and the re-opening of the high street continues to show Cumbria is open for business.”

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