Flood victims urged to relive ordeal to help boost defences

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Residents of notorious flooding blackspots in York are being asked to relive their experiences of one of the city’s worst deluges under multi-million pound plans to build improved flood defences.

People in the Leeman Road and Water End area of the city will be asked to recount their experience of flooding near their homes and businesses – including the disaster in 2000 – when they attend a special drop-in session.

The event on January 10 will see the Environment Agency update residents on proposals for the Water End Flood Alleviation Scheme, which is set to cost over £3.2m and is designed to reduce the risk of flooding to more than 500 properties.

Staff from the agency will answer questions and talk to residents about flooding in the area and members of the police, fire service and York Council’s emergency planning team will also attend. A similar event was held last year and information provided by residents has been embraced as part of the continuing planning process for the proposed scheme.

Project manager Bethany Gardner said: “We will be finalising our detailed design, taking account of what local people tell us at the drop-in session, and will then seek funding from the Government to start construction.”

Leeman Road and Water End have a long history of localised flooding from the River Ouse and defences were built in the early 1980s to combat the problem.

But severe flooding in 2000 saw the existing defences almost swamped and sandbags were needed to add height to the barriers to prevent flooding to nearby properties. Surface water flooding also blights the area.