Posted on September 19, 2016
Cockermouth residents are upset at the lack of river dredging that has taken place and are worried about the winter months ahead.
The Environment Agency was due to start work in the River Derwent by Gote Bridge in June, but did not do so until July 21.
Work had to be halted when the water levels then became too high. The agency said this week that it had a further half day to do. It has removed 2,500 tonnes.
Cockermouth town and county councillor Eric Nicholson said: “The dredging done so far is obviously clearly inadequate, you can still see gravel below the bridge, there is still not sufficient space under the bridge.
“They said they would take it down to the levels they excavated to in 2010, following the 2009 floods. This is the minimum the people of Cockermouth would accept and this has not happened.
“What really worries me is they will not get the job completed. This is not acceptable.
“They need to get in there and get on with the job at any costs, I’m really disappointed they did not work longer on the days they could.
“I would like to see them taking a lot more out in the long term.”
Darren Ward, designer and architectural adviser to Cockermouth and District Civic Trust, said: “At the floods meeting at the beginning of June the Environment Agency categorically told us that dredging would start within two weeks.
“It took another seven or eight weeks for them to get round to delivering equipment which then sat there for days. They lost a lot of time when they could have been working and taking advantage of good weather.
“To be caught out by weather problems here is inexcusable, they know what they have to work with.”
Jonty Chippendale, owner of The Toy Shop, on Main Street, said: “We have had two weighty reports that have told us – shock horror – that we flooded, but the reports lacked empirical data, in-depth analysis or any immediate action points.
“We have had a partial, possibly half-hearted, dredging of the river, and a lot of hot air.
“The drains in Main Street are still unconnected, the identified faults in the flood defences are unfixed, and Gote Bridge allows no more flow than it has previously, inadequately provided.”
Vital flood defence work which needs to be carried out on High Sand Lane was being discussed at a meeting yesterday.
A county council spokesman said: “Drainage investigation work at High Sand Lane, off Main Street, will be discussed at a meeting of the Cumbria Highways team.
“A full schedule of the programme of work will be available thereafter and local residents and businesses informed of any likely disruption to traffic and/or parking for the duration of the works.”
Source: Times and Star