An amphitheater-style first phase of a £ 1million flood mitigation program in Sidmouth has officially opened.
The Devon County Council (DCC) drainage system on the Knowle property on Station Road will divert surface water from more than 60 properties.
It will also serve as an open public space for the community when not in use to fight the elements.
The project’s underground storage system has the capacity to contain flood water up to “a 30-year storm”.
Its stepped sections above ground can store up to half a meter of water during a ‘100-year storm event’, saving £ 10million in damage costs.
The second phase of the project will focus on improving drainage in the city center.
Overall, the project aims to reduce the risk of flooding for a total of more than 100 homes and businesses in Sidmouth.
DCC Chairman Councilor Jeff Trail BEM hailed “a fantastic addition to the city” and said: “Building a program like this during a global pandemic has posed significant challenges, especially during adding bad weather into the equation. “
He praised the East Devon District Council landowner for his support.
Sidmouth Representative and DCC Road Management Cabinet Member Councilor Stuart Hughes added: “I congratulate those who have been involved in carrying out this vital flood improvement work.
“No one imagined that a project which obviously requires the interception and storage of a large volume of water before it arrives in the city, could indeed be hidden from view of all, giving the community a real asset. that will attract people.
“Along with the delivery of this program, Devon County Council and its consultants have been investigating what the composition of the city center phase two works will include.
“While it’s likely to feature more traditional defenses and drainage, I have no doubt that the attention to detail and care given will be of the same high standard. “
Cllr Ian Barlow, Chairman of Sidmouth City Council, said: “I take my hat off to the engineers who designed and delivered not only a flood relief program, but also a great new economic and social asset for our town.
The project, built by South West Highways, was developed as part of DCC’s surface water management plan for Sidmouth after the town’s properties flooded in November 2014.
It is funded by CDC, Defra Flood Defense Grant in Aid and a local levy contribution administered by the South West Flood and Coastal Committee.