£41m flood scheme in West Yorkshire to be complete by Christmas - with a new town on the agenda for New Year

A key flood scheme in Calderdale will be finished, water-tight and up to flood defence level by Christmas, while the New Year will see work begin on defences for another town.

Mytholmroyd has been repeatedly hit by floods in recent years

The £41 million Mytholmroyd scheme will be complete save for some final touches, senior advisor for the Environment Agency, Paul Swales, told Calderdale Council’s Flooding Scrutiny Panel.

“It is fantastic news. We will be winter ready, the scheme will be water-tight and up to flood defence level by Christmas,” he said.

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The panel heard an alleviation scheme for neighbouring Hebden Bridge would begin next year.

In another upper Calder Valley town, Todmorden, major demolition of a chapel at Rochdale Road, Shade, has been completed better protecting around 250 properties, with a new work beginning in the New Year.

Mr Swales said Mytholmroyd’s project had been an exceptional one – although taking five years after the 2015 Boxing Day floods, it had been completed in about half the time a project of this scale usually took.

It had its challenges and was not completed in the normal way, with design and build work being carried out concurrently, he said.

“It is a very constrained site bringing problems with traffic management and disruption to the community, and lots of unforeseen circumstances such as water main bursts,” he said.

Another major flood – scheme partners always warn projects provide more protection but not a total guarantee – in February this year, second-worst behind 2015, and the COVID-19 pandemic also impacted on work.

The EA’s Christian Merriman updated members on the Hebden Bridge Flood Alleviation Scheme, and projects to better protect properties at Erringden, and in Hebden Bridge town centre at Stubbing Holme Road.

Following more detailed design work, construction at Hebden Bridge should start next summer.

Like the Erringden scheme, which will deal with surface water management, it should give a one in 50 year event level of protection, up from one in five years.

At Stubbing Holme Road more survey work will precede a scheme start date of 2022 – some funding still needed to be secured, said Mr Merriman.

Because the river is largely away from the road, disruption should not be as severe as at Mytholmroyd.

There could be issues closing St Pol car park for a time – it was hoped to use land at the old adult education centre site to compensate while it was carried out, said Mr Merriman.

The next stage of work at Shade, Todmorden, will start in January, involving using the stone from Shade Chapel to repair channel walls to create an “aesthetically pleasing” stretch of river.

The culvert will be uncovered up to the boundary of Shade Chapel school and scour protection will be installed to the to the river walls and bed.