Experts draw up options to protect Leatherhead from return of floods
A rescue in Thorncroft Drive, Leatherhead, on Christmas Eve
A year after parts of Leatherhead were repeatedly flooded experts are drawing up options to protect the area with work expected to start some time after 2016 according to the Environment Agency (EA).
The Leatherhead and Middle Mole Flood Alleviation scheme, is expected to cost around £2.7m, and aims to protect 645 homes along a stretch of the River Mole by March 2021.
Last winter the river burst its banks and floods struck homes, a crematorium, a football ground, a fire station and a water pumping station in Leatherhead.
The EA’s £100,000 investigation into the best ways to prevent flooding along the stretch of river is due to be completed by April.
Its study is looking at different options such as flood storage, operation and removal of structures, improving conveyance and the construction of raised defences.
An EA spokesman said: “We are beginning to look at the long list of possible options for the catchment and will refine these over the next couple of months.
“When this work is complete we will talk to the communities at risk about the most appropriate solutions for their area.
“As part of this project we are also undertaking detailed hydrological and hydraulic modelling of the middle River Mole to improve the existing flood mapping and modelling and help us identify the most appropriate way to reduce flood risk.
“Flood Defence Grant in Aid funding of £2.3m has been announced in the Autumn Statement subject to full business case approval and securing required contributions to implement the scheme.”
He said additional funding may also be allocated by the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee.
Surrey County Councillor Tim Hall, who represents Leatherhead and Fetcham East, said drains have been cleared and sandbags are at the ready as part of preparations for possible flooding this winter.
Coun Hall said: “A lot of work has been done on the non-river side, but there is more to do. Until the Middle Mole study comes out and says what caused the flooding, it’s difficult to know how to stop it.”
Mole Valley’s MP Sir Paul Beresford said he had been talking to ministers and the Environment Agency about work being done to prevent flooding.
Sir Paul said: “They were moving fast but not rushing it because they want to make it right. We have got to make sure we steadily build the flood defences so if it ever happens again that we can push the water back.”
The Government announced the division of funds to fight flooding earlier this month, with the largest lump sum of £220m going to the Lower Thames.