Main work begins on the £4.3 million Filey Filey Flood Alleviation Scheme
A multi-million-pound scheme to protect more than 700 properties in Filey has been officially launched.
Filey was devastated by flooding in the early 2000s, particularly in 2007 when torrential rainfall cut off homes and schools and left standing water three feet deep in places.
Preparatory work for the Filey Flood Alleviation Scheme, which it is hoped will stop a repeat of those scenes, got underway last month and today, representatives of those involved in bringing the scheme to fruition met on-site to see the progress made so far and mark the start of the main construction phase.
The scheme involves the construction of a series of earth embankments, ditches and temporary flood storage areas at different locations around the edge of Filey.
Together with new drainage channels and culverts, these are designed to catch the flows of water from surrounding land during extreme rainfall before they reach the town.
The flood water will be temporarily stored before being released at a controlled rate into the existing urban drainage system and ravines once a storm has passed.
As well as homes and businesses, the scheme will also help to protect Filey’s only secondary school, the Scarborough to Hull railway line, which is routed via Filey, and the town’s two access roads.
The £4.37 million scheme is being funded by Environment Agency (£2.269m), Regional Flood and Coast Defence Committee Local Levy (£1.712m), Scarborough Borough Council (£369k) and Filey Town Council (£20k).
Subject to planning permission, large areas of the scheme to the north of the site will see a change of use from agricultural land to public open space, which will comprise wildflower meadow, hedgerow planting, signage, picnic benches and a bird viewing area.
Filey has a history of suffering from surface water flooding. Records of properties flooding date back to 1985. The most significant flooding occurred in October 2000, August 2002, and the major flood event in the summer of 2007.
On July 18 2007, when the sun was shining 20 minutes away in Scarborough, 80mm of rain fell in just one and half hours in Filey, with water reported to be waist-deep in places.
Significant damage and disruption occurred, including more than 200 homes affected by internal flooding, both access roads into the town blocked and the RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was used to rescue people stranded in their homes.
The Filey Flood Alleviation Scheme has been designed to cope with the type of extreme rainfall witnessed in 2007 as well as the predicted future impacts of climate change.
Construction is taking place on Scarborough Council and private land following many months of agreeing land purchases and access arrangements, which were only finalised in March this year.
Cllr Michelle Donohue-Moncrieff, Scarborough Council’s cabinet member for Environment and Sustainability, said that she hoped that the scheme would represent “some good news for once” for people in Filey, something that has been in short supply in 2020.
Cllr Donohue-Moncrieff added: “I am really pleased that the flood alleviation scheme is underway and to see the great progress made on site by our contractor in a very short space of time.
“In contrast, it has not been a straightforward journey to get to this point. It has taken many years of research, planning, design, funding applications and land negotiations. The vast amount of work represents a Herculean effort from so many people. I would like to thank everyone who has played a part in getting the scheme to this point; it really is a momentous achievement.
“Once completed, the scheme will provide Filey with vital flood protection and give the local community the reassurance they need that the town will be able to cope with the impacts of flooding and protect homes and livelihoods for the next 100 years.”
Cllr Jacqui Houlden-Banks, Mayor of Filey, said that the residents of the town had been living in fear since 2007 that they could lose everything once more in a flood.
She said: “It was absolutely horrific, most of the community was affected. We had inflatable dinghies out to get the elderly people to places of safety, we couldn’t get to the infant and the junior schools to get children so people were going with boats and with waders and the lifeboat helped out to get to them.
“Then after the flood was finished it was just the devastation that was left behind and the amount of time it took to clear up.
“To get this scheme here today is absolutely magnificent and it is going to make such a difference. Local people will be able to feel secure in their buildings again.
“Many people still have issues with getting insurance following 2007 but this is going to give the residents a lot of confidence as we have been living in fear.”
The construction work is being carried out by Esh Construction Limited and is due to be completed by spring 2021.