A public consultation meeting will be held in Marlborough within the next two months to consider residents’ reaction to a proposed Environment Agency flood protection scheme for grade II listed Kennet Place.
2003 Flooding – Firemen at work
The Amenities and Open Spaces Committee of Marlborough town council decided last month to join with Wiltshire Council and the Agency in footing the bill for the project for the area on the edge of the River Kennet, which was badly flooded in 2003.
But concerns have now been raised about a proposed erection of a half-metre high wall on the river bank from the Town Mill bridge to the Old Ropeworks in Kennet Place, committee members fearing that young people will see it as a place to sit and congregate.
“Protecting that particular river bank is a complicated operation as there is also a spring running through the wall,” said committee chairman Councillor Richard Pitts. “There is technical work yet to be done so that the partners in the scheme can understand the true costs of the work involved in the project, including the building the wall.”
Mark Heelis, the Environment Agency’s flood risk management expert, also pointed out that flooding from the Kennet was only one of two risks facing the town. The other could come from a dramatic freak rainfall on the Common, which would pour down the slope into Marlborough and cause serious flooding.
“To guard against that – it’s a once in a century event — we would have to install a far bigger and better drainage system,” said Mr Pitts. “The cost of that given the present economy is currently prohibitive.”
But what Mr Pitts would like to investigate is creation of a hydro electricity scheme on the Kennet millrace, a subject close to the heart of Marlborough’s newly formed Transition Town campaign group.
“Such a scheme would not be a council project,” he explained. “It would require the setting up of a community company, in which the town council might be a partner.”