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Philip Evans


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AXMINSTER:‘Frustrating’ delay on flood prevention plan

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Flood prevention work in Willhay Lane has been delayed by about six months. The bad news was confirmed when Axminster Town Council met on Monday of last week One year ago, Devon County Council announced that a hydraulic model of River Axe would be produced to provide the required information to design a suitably-sized culvert/bridge opening in Willhay Lane. The modelling work would be handled by the Environment Agency, but there has been a delay. Town, district and county councillor Andrew Moulding read a letter to fellow town councillors from Devon County Council saying: “As it stands we have been delayed approximately six months due to the Environment Agency’s flood modellers slipping from their original timetable. “There has also been the added complication whereby the outputs that have been supplied to us do not go into the level of detail that we require in order to accurately design the works. So we are having to carry out additional analysis to ensure that our completed scheme does not increase the level of flood risk elsewhere, including compromising the railway.” The letter was read after Axminster resident David Samways asked for a progress report during the town council meeting. Hydraulic modelling The letter also said: “Whilst the modelling has been on-going we have engaged with our Engineering Design Group (EDG) “They are currently in the process of drawing up indicative designs for the scheme, which will then be developed and firmed up once we have an exact output from the hydraulic modelling. “Shortly the EDG are also going to initiate conversations with land owners who will be affected by the physical works. “These include the land owner upstream of the Willhay Lane culvert, the land owner between the Willhay Lane culvert and the railway line, Network Rail and the land owner downstream of the railway line. “It is hoped that they get on board with the scheme and we can avoid a lengthy period of negotiations and associated compensation. “So as you can see we aren’t as far along as we had hoped and the chances of scheme delivery in summer/autumn 2014 may be fading, but please be assured that we remain committed to delivering a successful flood alleviation scheme in Axminster and are working hard to ensure that it is delivered as soon as possible.” Councillor Moulding said: “It is frustrating.” Mr Samways was not impressed, forcing town council chairman and Axminster mayor Jeremy Walden to interrupt, sternly saying: “Mr Samways, Councillor Moulding has given you a response, as frustrating as it is.”


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