'Preferred options' chosen for £93 million Sheffield flood defences

A flood storage area is proposed at Endcliffe Park
A flood storage area is proposed at Endcliffe Park

Council officers have picked the flood defences they want to build as part of a £93 million drive to protect Sheffield from being deluged in years to come.

The measures will be taken to prevent potentially devastating scenes along the River Sheaf, the Porter Brook and the Upper River Don, staving off a repeat of 2007's floods in which two people died when storms hit - but the defences still face a funding shortfall of more than £70 million.

Flood defences alongside the River Don by Forgemasters.

Flood defences alongside the River Don by Forgemasters.

More than 1,000 people had their say on draft plans during a consultation last year, and now Sheffield Council has picked its preferred options. Nine culverted watercourses that pose a high risk of collapsing are also to be re-lined at a cost of £3 million.

In the Sheaf catchment, the following ideas have been chosen 'for detailed consideration': a flood storage area that would hold water at times of heavy rainfall at Endcliffe Park; barriers and the removal of culverts acting as 'pinch points' along the Lower Porter; defences from Abbeydale Road to Little London Road, Queens Road to the Lower Sheaf and Sharrow Vale to Ecclesall; defences, and the removal of culverts, at Broadfield Road and the Antiques Quarter; debris screen improvements along the River Sheaf; and a flood storage area at Abbey Brook, Beauchief.

Some controversial proposals have been dropped, including flood storage areas in Millhouses Park.

Meanwhile, the projects to be taken forward along the Upper River Don are flood storage areas at Wharncliffe Side and Roscoe, in the Rivelin Valley, and defences at Oughtibridge, Winn Gardens, Hillsborough and from Neepsend to Kelham Island. Defences are also to be created beside the Little Don at Stocksbridge, and a section of the River Loxley near Penistone Road.

The Roscoe storage area could hold over 200,000 cubic metres of water - equivalent to 87 Olympic-sized swimming pools. But a report to a council meeting next week emphasises that the measure is being kept 'in reserve' as a way of 'slowing the flow' of water. The preferred approach is to change how Yorkshire Water's reservoirs are operated to store floodwater upstream of the city - however, the report says this could ultimately be 'undeliverable'.

The full cost of the Upper Don scheme is estimated at £53 million, with the Sheaf likely to require £40 million.

"The schemes qualify for £22.5 million of Defra flood grant in aid, subject to the approval of business cases by the Environment Agency, leaving a funding shortfall of £70.5 million," said the report. Project leaders are working with the Government to secure all the necessary funds.

"In the meantime, the council plans to deliver the schemes in phases over a five year plus period as funding packages become available."

An initial phase for the Upper Don measures is being worked up using money from the Sheffield City Region investment fund and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.

Engineering consultants looked at 48 culverted watercourses - channels such as streams or drains that have been covered up underground - and picked nine in Sheffield that needed attention to prevent their collapse at locations including Crimicar Lane, Fulwood; Dobcroft Road and Pingle Avenue, Millhouses; Pack Horse Lane, High Green and the upper reach of Tongue Gutter at Parson Cross. A Defra grant is anticipated and work is to start next August.

A £19m scheme to protect businesses along the Lower Don Valley from flooding - which has involved putting up a large wall - is expected to be fully complete in January.

The council is working closely with the Environment Agency on the overall programme.