Wensleydale village to seek funding for flood-alleviation work

Widdale Beck. Photo: Roger Templeman.

Residents of Appersett should form their own Flood Group to access funding for flood-alleviation work, it was decided at the recent virtual meeting of Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council.

The parish council had set up the Appersett Flood Task Group soon after hearing how water had entered ten of the 23 homes in the village on November 1 last year.

At that time the volume of water flowing in Widdale Beck was such that the wall on Lanacar Lane could no longer contain the flow.

The four parish councillors on the Task Group were Peter Metcalfe (coordinator), Mike Watts, Marion Lloyd and David Colley (report author).

They recommended considering removing silt, boulders and other deposits downstream of Appersett Bridge so as to widen and deepen the river. This will need the approval of the Environment Agency (EA) as Widdale Beck is classed as a major river upstream of Appersett.

The Task Group also suggested removing the existing wall and constructing a new flood wall for a length of approximately 60m upstream of the bridge.

The cost could amount to £68,000 according to the Task Group which reported that, as previous flooding events had not been reported to the EA, Appersett was not on the agency’s priority list.

The Task Group decided that, in the absence of any proactive work being schedule by North Yorkshire County Council’s Flood Risk Management Department and, given the length of time it could take to get action via a formal process with the EA, a sensible approach would be to develop proposals which could, if funding was found, be put to the EA for approval.

James Ryan, the county council’s development management engineer, had suggested to the parish council that a dedicated Flood Group could be constituted with documented governance rules. Such a group, he said, once correctly established, could then form the body to formally access local sources of funding.

There was a general consensus at the parish council meeting that the Flood Group should be formed by and made up of Appersett residents given that they were the main stakeholders, and that it should have its own bank account for applying for funding. The parish council could be part of the group but did not need to be.

Mr Ryan recommended that contact should be made with the Flood Forum which is a charity set up to help people affected by flooding and could provide advice on setting up a properly constituted group.

The parish council agreed that the Flood Group, once set up, should make formal contact with the EA, the county council and any agencies which might provide grants. It would also search for engineers, civil engineers and building contractors for a work scope and to refine the budget estimates provided by the Task Group.