Council Approve Flood Relief Plans

Lancaster City Council has approved plans for a major new flood relief scheme that will protect businesses along Caton Road.

The project will see the construction of a new flood defence wall along the banks of the River Lune to prevent similar large scale flooding to that which occurred during Storm Desmond in 2015.

Taking 15 months to construct, the new wall will significantly reduce flood risk to the area it protects from the current 1 in 20-year event to a 1 in 100-year event.

For the most part the wall will be built on the landward side of the cycle path, with a few exceptions, and will continue to provide uninterrupted access along the paths in the River Lune Millennium Park.

To maintain access through to the industrial areas and Caton Road without compromising the effectiveness of the wall, a number of ‘up and overs’ will be integrated into the design.

They will be similar to those built as part of the recently completed Morecambe wave reflection wall, which have received much praise for their design and the way they provide inclusive access for everyone, including those with disabilities.

During the construction of the wall the riverside path will need to close, but an alternative temporary route will be provided. An option to keep the path open during the works was explored but would see the removal of more trees, causing an additional environmental impact. There would also be significant constraints because of overhead cables and the scheme would ultimately take longer to build.

Final options are still being explored and will potentially result in highway improvements which will remain beyond the construction period, providing a long term benefit.

A condition of the planning permission will see cycle interest groups that commented on the planning application being consulted before any diversion is implemented.

Coun Janice Hanson, Cabinet member with responsibility for regeneration and planning, said:  “This is an extremely important scheme which will strengthen the riverside flood defences for one of Lancaster’s most important commercial areas.

“Just as we’ve seen from the recent completion of the Morecambe wave reflection wall, the scheme will also bring benefits over and above the flood protection that it provides. The riverside path will be resurfaced and the design of the wall will enhance its setting alongside the River Lune and the important heritage assets of Skerton Bridge and the Lune Aqueduct.

“Although not ideal, I hope people will understand why the cycle path needs to close for the delivery of the scheme and that the long term benefits outweigh the short term disruption. We will be doing all we can to minimise the impact by the provision of a temporary alternative that will also make improvements to the cycle network for many years to come.”