10-year battle won to get damaged Ribble Valley culvert fixed

SANDBAGS Christine Sutehalls on her doorstep in Whalley Road, Sabden, when it flooded in 2008

SANDBAGS Christine Sutehalls on her doorstep in Whalley Road, Sabden, when it flooded in 2008

First published in Sabden Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A decade-long battle to fix a damaged culvert in Sabden has been won.

The Badger Wells Water culvert, a watercourse that drains part of the southern slopes of Pendle Hill, was first damaged in 2002.

The stone structure which runs through Sabden to join Sabden Brook collapsed at the rear of Wesley Street.

And in July 2007 heavy rain caused flash floods in the area with water ripping through the village down Whalley Road and into homes.

Farmers and police officers were drafted in to evacuate children who had become trapped in Sabden Primary School on tractors and villagers were left with extensive damage to their properties.

Urgent repairs needed to be carried out on the structure to stop future flooding.

But despite extensive local enquiries and a lengthy land registry search the owner of the land where the culvert collapsed could not be found.

Now Lancashire County Council and Ribble Valley Council have joined forces and raised £25,000 to cover the cost of the repairs.

Kerry Fielding, the bursar at the primary school, said: "It is about time that it is fixed and it is a real relief.

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"The floods were devastating and caused a lot of problems in the area and we have feared that it could happen again ever since."

Local councillor Richard Newmark said: "Funding the repairs was a problem because we couldn't secure enough money and so temporary shoring was erected on the north side of the watercourse to prevent further blockages.

"But this was not enough and something needed to be done to ensure that it was secured for future generations."

Terry Longden, from Ribble Valley Council, said: "Natural accumulations of stone are built up in the open section of the watercourse before it goes into the remaining length of culvert.

"If this stone is washed into the culvert it could cause further blockage, which because of the size of the culvert, would be very difficult to remove.

"It was agreed that the flood risk arising from the Badger Wells Water could be greatly reduced for the benefit of the residents and highway users by the cooperation and pooling of the appropriate resources of the two authorities."

The work will be carried out early next year.

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