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Work begins on flood defence scheme

Construction on a major new flood defence for Winchester at Durngate has started.

The scheme will provide three new sluice gates on the remaining uncontrolled channels of River Itchen to help to protect the city centre, homes and businesses from high water levels. It will complete the city’s network of defences across the north of the city to help to control flooding, including the historic City Mill.

The sluice gates are adjustable so they can help to manage the flow of river water – the gates will be able to hold back up to 250,000m3 of water, equivalent to around 3.2 million bathtubs of water. Work is now underway on a temporary dam to enable the installation of the first sluice gate. Two of the gates will be located either side of Durngate car park with the third between the road and pedestrian bridge at the entrance to Winnall Moors – once in place earthworks will link the defences all together from the School of Art to the main river.

Areas of Winchester experienced severe flooding in 2014 prompting a review of the city’s defences. Additional measures were installed in 2016 helping to safeguard residential properties, River Park Leisure Centre, Winchester Arts College and St Bede’s School.

The £1.6m scheme is funded by Winchester City Council with £548k provided by the Environment Agency, part of a six-year programme worth £2.6bn to protect 300,000 homes across England.

Cllr Jackie Porter, Cabinet Member for Built Environment and Wellbeing, said: 

“I’m really pleased that work is underway on these essential new flood defences. The new sluice gates will give added reassurance to many people, especially anyone who was affected by the severe floods of 2014 and high river levels since. This scheme will complete a network of flood protections for Winchester that will help us to keep homes and properties safe when river levels rise, while helping to safeguard several historic buildings.”

David Martin, Environment Agency Flood Risk Manager for Hampshire, said:

“We have all worked hard since the events of 2014 to reduce flood risk in Winchester and so we are extremely pleased that work is now able to start on this last piece of the puzzle.

“This vital scheme for the city has only been made possible thanks to the combined efforts of Winchester City Council and the Environment Agency. It is a great example of what we can achieve when we work together.”

The construction of the sluice gates is expected to end in December 2020. Durngate car park will be closed over this time to provide a site base for contractors and to allow two of the three gates to be installed either side of the car park.

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