Richard brought together DEFRA minister, Therese Coffey, and Tri-Council Partnership Chief Executive, Matt Prosser in a bid to win extra funds for flood relief in Weymouth.
The majority of Weymouth is very flat and low lying and is classified as flood zone 3 by the Environment Agency. Property thresholds in the Park district are less than 0.85 metres above sea level, while the street level is prone to surface water flooding.
“Weymouth needs to upgrade its flood defences dramatically,” says Drax, “Almost every year there is severe flooding in the town, caused by extreme tides and waves. We must build up our harbour walls – almost 2.5km of them - and upgrade 6.9kms of coastal flood defences. Without these improvements, 450 properties are currently at risk and these numbers will rise to 2150 over the next 100 years.”
“Ten per cent of our sea walls are at risk of imminent failure. The 2012 collapse resulted in repairs costing the Council £4.7 million.”
“Tackling the immediate flood risk will cost £30 million over the next 15 years, meaning there’s a funding gap of £16 million.”
“These flood defence upgrades are of vital importance to Weymouth’s future development, partly because the Environment Agency will not allow building until a comprehensive, funded, flood defence programme is in place.”
“I am glad to say that the Minister was incredibly accommodating and plainly understands the situation. While she can’t promise any immediate funds, she is awaiting a report from the Council, upon which she can base any decision."
“Weymouth has the highest population density in Dorset and development land is in short supply because we are surrounded by water on three sides. We must concentrate on regeneration and creating employment space in the town, but all this is threatened by our vulnerability to flooding.”
“Commerce will be Weymouth’s future lifeblood; along with our very able Council executives, I will continue to press for results.”