FLOODING misery may be a thing of the past for fed-up householders in South Tyneside after the Government today announced a £4m grant to safeguard their homes.
The cash will be used to create flood defence schemes across Hebburn, protecting around 750 homes.
The areas earmarked for support are Lukes Lane, the Lakes estate, Finchale Road and Mill Lane up to the town’s former South Tyneside College site.
The flood defence scheme is designed to prevent a repeat of the havoc which forced residents to be rehoused in June and August of 2012.
And today victims of those floods expressed their relief that “help was at hand at last”.
Mum-of-three Kelly McGee, 33, saw her Bournemouth Road home on the Lukes Lane estate flooded in the first wash-out two-and-a-half years ago.
She said: “I am really delighted this money has now been made available. It has taken too long, but at least this can now give us peace of mind. Every time it rains, we look out the window and fear that it is going to happen again.
“I wasn’t the worst hit, the water only flooded into my front porch, but others were moved out of their homes for months. It causes so much upheaval.”
Another Lukes Lane flood victim, who did not wish to be named, added: “I had months away from my home.
“It seems that Lukes Lane is the forgotten estate, there’s been flood work carried everywhere else but not here.
“Now they have the money they need to get on with doing the work. This is good news.”
In total, £46m was announced to reduce flooding risk across Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Country Durham and Teesside.
Coun Tracey Dixon, the council’s lead member for area management and community safety at South Tyneside Council, said: “We understand the devastating impact flooding can have on people’s homes and the misery it causes, which is why this is very welcome news for South Tyneside, in particular the hundreds of residents living in the Hebburn South area.
“Over recent years, we have been carrying out detailed flood studies in this area and looking at what can be done to alleviate problems for local people.
“Once this funding allocation is confirmed, we will be able to take this work forward with a view to getting a suitable flood mitigation scheme in place.
“We are in very early stages and there is much work to be done. We will continue to work with our partners in the Environment Agency and Northumbrian Water to consider the most appropriate measures for this area so that residents can be better protected during times of heavy rainfall and extreme weather.”
In announcing the grant aid, Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: “I have earmarked £46m of flood defence funding across the North East region to protect thousands of homes here.
“Investing £2.3bn to support 1,400 schemes across the country will protect 300,000 homes from the north-east to the south-west.
“As well as ensuring people’s safety and peace of mind, it will also bring over £30bn of economic benefit, making it great value for money as part of this government’s drive for a stronger economy and a fairer society.”