Feniton flood prevention work recommended to re-start despite uncertainty over funding.

PUBLISHED: 18:48 28 January 2020 | UPDATED: 18:48 28 January 2020

Flooding in Feniton in 2014.

Flooding in Feniton in 2014.

LDRS

Feniton flood prevention work recommended to re-start despite uncertainty over part of its funding.

The planned  route of the flood alleviation scheme. Picture: East Devon District CouncilThe planned route of the flood alleviation scheme. Picture: East Devon District Council

Feniton's delayed flood alleviation scheme could be completed within the next two years, although funding has yet to be secured for some of the work.

The project, when finished, will reduce the flood risk to more than 70 homes, and the first two phases were completed in 2016.

The delayed third phase of the scheme - laying a pipe under the railway line - is due to be carried out in May 2020.

The problem is that the overall project costs have risen by around £2 million since the scheme was originally planned, and there is not enough money in the budget to cover the increase.

East Devon District Council (EDDC)'s cabinet will be recommended next week to schedule the final phase for 2021-22, which will allow time to apply for Government funding to pay for it.

But the report warns: "The risk to EDDC is that Phase 3 is built, and if Phase 4 is not funded, the project has wasted £770,000 for an unconnected culvert under the railway, and offering no flood risk reduction to Feniton."

However, delaying the building of the culvert would carry its own risks and cost implications. The work will involve closing the railway line for 52 hours, and it has taken a lot of time and effort to negotiate the closure with Network Rail. These complications have been the main delaying factor in the project, and if the work does not go ahead in May this year, this will incur further costs from the rail company.

Network Rail also needs confirmation by mid to late February that the culvert building will take place in May.

The report, going before the cabinet on Wednesday, February 5, concludes: "Financial risk to council is high. Potential to spend £770k on a UTX (undertrack crossing) that will never be joined up to the rest of the culvert network, if further grant funding is not forthcoming from the Environment Agency.

"Indications so far however, pending an application have been positive. Alternately EDDC could loan the project £1.4m (the current project shortfall) at risk of it not being repaid by central government should further grant applications not be successful."

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