Businesses take the plunge for flood protection project

Floodpic: The Deluge.'Sheffield Floods'Saville Street
Floodpic: The Deluge.'Sheffield Floods'Saville Street

Businesses in the east end of Sheffield have voted to chip in towards a £8.1m project to improve flood defences on their doorstep.

In the first ballot of its kind in the city, they are to contribute their own money towards protecting the flood-prone Lower Don Valley from further damage and disruption.

Some 82% of businesses which voted agreed to contribute £1.4m towards setting up a Business Improvement District, a mechanism for the spending on flood defences.

However, only 35% of companies took part.

The payment will be based on their rateable value for five years to cover part of the building cost and ensure 8km of the River Don between the centre and the M1 is properly maintained and kept clear.

Already the Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has allocated £5.5m to the project and an application has been submitted for £1.2m from the Environment Agency.

It is hoped to have all the money in place to start early next year with a view to completion by late 2015.

The Lower Don Valley was severely flooded in 2000 and 2007, causing massive disruption and multi-million pound damages to hundreds of businesses and the infrastructure.

Richard Wright, executive director, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said the vote “was an important decision for businesses to make and we are pleased they have seen the value of investing in the scheme”.