Feniton could get �1m flood prevention scheme

EDDC to stump up half the �40,000 cost of a preliminary investigation by specialist contractors.

EAST Devon District Council is to pay half the �40,000 cost of an investigation to find out if a �1m flood prevention scheme at Feniton could win Government support.

If successful, improvements to the village’s drainage system could be made by 2013.

The council’s executive board agreed last week to stump up half after liaising with the Environment Agency.

Contractors Howick will carry out an appraisal of New Feniton’s drainage needs. However, Defra would have to fund the flood prevention scheme.

Councillor Graham Brown, who represents Feniton and is chairman of the council’s Flood Recovery Group, said he was delighted that EDDC had had the foresight to approve the funding.

“This is an example of EDDC working with partners to take care of its local communities. It is hard and often unsung work, but it is effective and should be applauded,” he said.

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Councillor heard about the night of October 29 two years ago when heavy localised storms spread across parts of East Devon, causing extensive damage and flooding to properties and businesses. That night, 60 properties in Feniton Nwere flooded internally.

Since then, EDDC has been working with Devon County Council and the Environment Agency (EA) to try and reduce the possibility of this happening again.

Through a bid to Defra last year, EDDC has been told that money has been ring-fenced for this scheme, but it can only be used once an appraisal has been submitted and passed by Defra’s Project Appraisal Board (PAB). The total cost for this appraisal is �40,000. If and when the PAB passes the appraisal, the �40,000 can be claimed back from Defra.

In order to keep continuity within the project and to meet tight deadlines, the councillors also agreed to an exemption from the council’s Standing Orders to use Howick Consultants for the appraisal and present it to the PAB, without the need to go through a time-consuming tendering process.

EDDC has been advised by the EA to submit the appraisal to the PAB by March 2011. Members heard that this time-scale will be difficult to achieve without using Howick Consultants, who have a sound background knowledge of the project. To bring in a new consultant to start from scratch would make that target unachievable and could jeopardise the success of the project.