North East & Yorkshire

Alleviating Todmorden

Although the sun made quite a few appearances throughout 2013, 2012 was a particularly damp year, with the UK experiencing record levels of rainfall.

With the river levels continuing to rise thousands of homes and businesses across the country found themselves falling victim to flooding.

The Environment Agency reported that almost 8,000 properties in England and Wales were flooded during 2012, with more than 200,000 warnings to households and businesses. One place to experience the flooding firsthand was Todmorden, which was subjected to the same deluge of rain that battered the rest of the UK.

Todmorden was in the final stages of a £30 million investment as part of the Todmorden Alleviation Scheme to improve flood defences when the flooding hit. Environment Agency staff and the main contractors VolkerStevin cleared debris left in the town centre and provided pumps for flooded properties in order to get the project back on track.

A fortnight following the flooding, the project team cleared 3,000t of gravel from the channel between Morrisons supermarket and Shade Primary School, which had been washed downstream. In addition, three gravel traps on River Calder were cleared; repairs were made to a small road bridge close to Shade Chapel; and inspections of all culverts within the scheme were made, with some minor repairs made.

The Todmorden Flood Alleviation Scheme has been carried out in three phases; with the first two phases designed to reduce the risk of flooding to properties from the River Calder. Works included the creation of flood storage areas at Centre Vale Park and Millwood and the construction of new flood walls along Sackville Street, River Street, Key Syke Lane, Commercial Street and Hall Royd Crescent.

The major engineering work took place in 2005 and was complete in 2007. The third phase – which began in early 2011 – comprised the construction of a new 500 metre wall between Shade Primary School and Morrisons.

The new wall ranges in height from 1.2m to 2.8m, is made of concrete with a natural stone cladding to help it blend into the local environment. Meanwhile, the existing culverts have been repaired and flap valves have been fitted to the pipes that discharge into the Walsden Water.

During the construction of the wall Rochdale Road was reduced to a single lane, controlled by traffic lights for the safety of the public and the construction crew.

The Todmorden Flood Alleviation Scheme has been a hugely significant project for the local area, which is also seeing three new retail units constructed along 18-22 Water Street. The units – which are set within a conservation area – are being constructed from a timber frame and will reach completion at the end of October 2013.

SEN Interiors are working in conjunction with VolkerStevin to build the new retail units, which include traditional shop fronts that blend perfectly within their surroundings.

Discussing their involvement on the project, SEN Interiors Project Manager, John Langley, said:

“The flood alleviation scheme has been very important for Todmorden as it has allowed work like this to take place.

“The construction of the new retail units is our first big project working with VolkerStevin and our first project for Todmorden. The construction period has been a 16 week programme which has run very smoothly and we look forward to handing over the units once complete.

“SEN Interiors are pleased to maintain the excellent working relationship established by VolkerStevin with the local business proprietors and residents looking forward to developing further relationships in the business community.”

Todmorden has a rich industrial history and throughout the years, the streams from the surrounding hills have provided water for corn, cotton and fulling mills. The works that have been carried out by VolkerStevin will help to protect Todmorden in the future.

For more information about the Todmorden Flood Alleviation Scheme, please visit:

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