Bewdley residents will be high and dry this week thanks to a series of new flood defences, opened by the Environment Agency yesterday.
The project protects the historic but flood-prone Bewdley Severnside area in Worcestershire, which dates back to the fourteenth century, with a £7 million aluminium barrier system linked to an underground wall and concrete ground beam.The area protected by the 450m demountable flood defence and 140m permanent defence includes several listed buildings, a Thomas Telford Grade I bridge, and a Grade II quay wall. The team worked closely with the Bewdley Flood Defence Committee and local residents to ensure that the visual impact of the new defences was kept to a minimum.'The above-ground system is completely demountable, therefore minimising the aesthetic impact of the defence during normal river flow conditions,' said Atkins project manager Richard Engledow.'The below ground works included the installation of piles to act as a cut-off to underground flow during floods, and the construction of a new surface water sewer system.' The demountable barriers are invisible at low river flow, but can be assembled for high river flow or foods.'The greatest challenge has been the need to balance the flood defence design and operational requirements with maintaining the character and importance of a historic environment,' said Engledow.The scheme also gives greater access to the historic quay, which could be a draw for tourism.