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Latest phase of flood alleviation work begins

Published on 30 September 2015

THE second phase of major work along the River Soar to tackle flood risk begins this week.

The Environment Agency and Leicester City Council (EA) are working together on a number of projects designed to improve the flow of floodwater by landscaping parts of the river floodplain, installing culverts, cutting back overgrown trees and removing obstacles to the flow of the river.

The latest stage of works will concentrate on three sites – Abbey Meadows, Bath Street and land between Birstall Road and the River Soar.

Landscaping work will take place at the Abbey Meadows site, which includes the former playing fields of the John Ellis School bordering the river, and the old disused allotment site south of Thurcaston Bridge.

A new wildlife area and new footpaths will be created between Bath Street and the River Soar, along with improvements to the cycle path next to the Melton Brook.

Finally, improvements will be made to the Co-op sports pitches on land between Birstall Road and the river, north of Watermead Way. The works will lower one of the pitches and raise the other to prevent it from flooding.

Leicester City Council, which is working with the EA on the schemes, will also use the works to improve a number of riverside facilities, footpaths and other access points.

The works begin at Abbey Meadows at the end of September. The majority of the earthworks at Abbey Meadows and the land adjacent to Bath Street, where work is due to begin in November, are expected to be completed by the end of the year. Planting will then take place.

Works at the Co-op site are due to finish in June 2016.

During the work, there may be some impact on public footpaths that run alongside the river, especially at Abbey Meadows, and next to the Melton Brook near Bath Street. Local diversion routes and signs will be in place.

The city council is working with the EA on the scheme designs to ensure they make the most of opportunities for better access, cycling links and developing biodiversity.

Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “These latest works are essential to the city’s flood prevention work, and also give us the chance to improve these riverside areas at the same time.

“The River Soar is a wonderful natural habitat, and by working with the EA we’re both making the most of the river’s natural environment and tackling the flood risk which faces the city.

“Their approach has been very good, and their determination to tackle the flood risk in the city has also brought with it many other benefits to the riverside area.”

Future phases of the project also include creating a new culvert beneath the Loughborough Road bridge in Belgrave, and improving flood flow past the ancient Thurcaston Road bridge.

The EA was awarded up to £33million of Government funding for a six-year programme of flood risk management in the city.

This is being complemented by the city’s River Soar Grand Union Canal Access Project, which will involve a range of improvements to make the riverside and waterways more attractive and easily accessible.

Partners in that project include the Environment Agency, Leicester City Council and the Canal and River Trust.

The River Soar Grand Union Canal Access Project has been awarded up to £1.5million from the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) Local Growth Fund for 2015/16, along with £500,000 from the Canal and River Trust.