A MULTI-MILLION pound plan to increase Worcestershire’s flood resilience was pitched to a transport minister when she paid a visit to the city.
Worcestershire County Council is hoping to secure £5million to help alleviate congestion during flood events as part of the county’s £250million Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) which has just been submitted to central Government.
A total of seven locations have been identified by council bosses as areas they believe will benefit from the money, including the raising of New Road in Worcester, which was forced to close for several days due to rising river levels.
The proposals were put to Baroness Kramer during her visit to the county on Friday (April 11) where she toured some of the hardest hit areas.
“People have stressed to me that the key issue in this area has been access,” she said. “You can afford to loss access for a day or two but not for long periods without it having a real impact on the economy.
“We will be focusing very much on access as we look at the plans that are coming to us now and we will be working very closely with local people to get the right answers.”
Coun Simon Geraghty, deputy leader of Worcestershire County Council, added:
“I think it went very well as she could see first hand what difference that money would make in Worcestershire to keep the highway network open for longer during severe flooding and minimise the impact on businesses and on residents going about their daily lives.
“What would be proposed is for a section of New Road to be raised which would mean Worcester Bridge could remain open. It is a key link between the east and west of the city, so all the chaos and congestion which was caused on the Southern Link road when the bridge was closed would be eased because those 35,000 vehicles could continue to go across it.”
As well as visiting Worcester, Baroness Kramer also toured Kempsey, Severn Stoke, Upton-upon-Severn and Powick to see how well the county had recovered following the recent floods.
She added: “I have been impressed by how well Worcestershire coped with the floods and a lot of that was flood resilience programmes that have been put in place in previous years.
I was also impressed by how they managed to organise themselves to bring together volunteers within the community as well as the fire service, the police service, the county council and the environment agency.”
*CITY resident’s can expect to hear plenty more about Worcestershire’s Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) in the coming years, but what is it?
The document, which was recently submitted to central government by Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), is 200 pages long, but in summary it is a ten year plan for jobs, growth and the economy.
The LEP hopes to secure about £250million in investment over the next decade through the Local Growth Fund (LGF) which supports economic development with a focus on transport, skills and housing.
If the money is secured, it should create 25,000 new jobs and bring an extra £2.9billion into the economy by 2025.
Some of the projects in the city which are hoped to be funded or part funded by the £250million pot include:
– Access roads to Worcester Technology Park at a total cost of £5million with all the money coming from the LGF.
– Reconfiguration of the Norton Roundabout to enable access to housing and development land. Total cost is £7million with £6.5million coming from the LGF.
– A new pedestrian/cycle footbridge over the River Severn at Gheluvelt Park starting in 2015/16. Total cost £2million with £1million coming from the LGF.
– A flood alleviation programme with seven schemes planned for across Worcestershire starting in 2015/16. Total cost £5million with £4million coming from the LGF.
– The £24million dualling of the southern link road, A4440, between Norton and Whittington and the dualling of the remaining small section of carriageway between the Norton and Ketch Roundabouts. It is hoped £5.5million will come from the LGF with the rest paid for by the private sector.
– The construction of the Worcestershire Parkway station. Total cost is £17.1million with £7.5million from the LGF.
– Reconfiguration of Junction 6 of the M5. Total cost £6million. The amount from the LGF is to be discussed with the Highways Agency.
– The dualling of Carrington Bridge at a cost of £70million with £63million coming from the LGF.