Defences to stop flooding in explorer’s boyhood village

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WORK is underway to protect homes in the village where the famed maritime explorer Captain James Cook grew up from flooding in the first scheme of its kind in the country.

Great Ayton has been repeatedly hit by deluges in the wake of heavy rainfall as water runs down from the surrounding hills to swell the River Leven. Traditional flood defence walls are not suitable due to the expense and the impact they would have on the village’s character.

Contractors are installing door and wall defences to protect more than 20 homes and the village’s museum dedicated to the life of Captain Cook. The Environment Agency is working with the North York Moors National Park Authority to employ six apprentices to build defences to capture and store water as it runs down the hills. The programme is the first of its kind after Great Ayton Parish Council agreed to manage it on behalf of the Environment Agency.

The council’s chairman, Coun Ron Kirk, said: “It has been a fulfilling challenge to work with local residents to ensure the most effective solutions that have minimum aesthetic impact are put in place to guard our homes in the future.”

The council received a £66,000 grant from the agency last year to finance the scheme.