Hebburn flood prevention scheme sparks safety fears

Residents were left with flood hit homes after adverse weather - dubbed Thunder Thursday -  hits the area in 2012
Residents were left with flood hit homes after adverse weather - dubbed Thunder Thursday - hits the area in 2012

Plans to create a flood water storage pond behind a South Tyneside school - in a bid to prevent damage to homes on nearby estates - has sparked safety concerns with councillors.

Work is set to begin in Hebburn early this year on a scheme which aims to prevent a repeat of the devastation caused to homes in 2012 by channeling flood water into pre-prepared areas.

Monkton Flood Alleviation plans

Monkton Flood Alleviation plans

‘Thunder Thursday’ saw a prolonged deluge leave properties - particularly on The Lukes Lane estate - swamped.

Since then, experts have been looking at ways to improve the drainage system.

Measures include improved drainage, swales and grassed flood water collectiin basins.

Work has already been carried out by Northumbrian Water to improve the sewage drainage network.

Everyone knows the history of the Lakes estate. We were quite clear, we were not happy about that.

Coun Nancy Maxwell

However, it is a plan to open up a 100m section of Bede Burn culvert - in a process called ‘daylighting’ - to create an collection basin behind Toner Avenue Primary School which has caused concerns with councillors.

They fear, the open water will become an attraction to youngsters and pose a risk to their safety.

The concerns were aired during a recent meeting of the Hebburn Community Area Forum after details on the pending works was given.

Coun Nancy Maxwell said: “We have raised concerns about this. That we are going to end up with a water filled area behind a school.

Coun Nancy Maxwell

Coun Nancy Maxwell

“We were quite clear. We were not happy about that. It will entice kids and I don’t want to be part of anything that’s going to put a child’s life in danger.”

Her concerns were echoed by Coun John McCabe who also queried how deep the water will be at any given point.

He said: “I have been involved with the Lilac Walk residents. If that’s going to store water it’s going to be coming behind them. That water should be stopped before it gets anywhere near them.”

Project manager Tom, Pitman said: “We are limited to the area as to where this could go. If we don’t have this, then the water will end up in people’s houses.

Lukes Lane estate residents Keith Lothian, right, and Donna Turnbull, concerned over flooding on the Hebburn estate

Lukes Lane estate residents Keith Lothian, right, and Donna Turnbull, concerned over flooding on the Hebburn estate

“We have looked at a number of locations but it’s this one which provides a lot of storage needed .

“We have tried to make it as wide as possible so that it will be as shallow as possible.”

He also said work will also be undertaken to landscape the area.

A drop-in session is planned for February where people will be able to look at the scheme further, with emphasis on construction and what it will mean to residents.