A major scheme to shore up Preston’s flood defences and protect thousands of homes could start next year, environment bosses have said.
Households across the city and South Ribble have been informed drop-in sessions will take place over the coming months to provide further details of the project.
Overseen by the Environment Agency with Lancashire County Council, the works will improve decades-old defences along the River Ribble as part a larger plan that includes the River Darwen.
Areas adjacent to the route – such as Broadgate, Riversway and Penwortham – have suffered on several occasions in recent years, notably on Boxing Day in 2015.
The construction works are expected to take place from next year with completion set for between 2021 and 2023 although further funding is required to complete the wider scheme.
And this extra cash could come from the European Union before the UK severs its ties next year.
A joint EA and LCC statement said: “We are currently remodelling the flood risk as a result of the flooding on Boxing day in 2015.
“This will tell us the options available to improve the current flood risk management scheme within Preston and South Ribble and better protect communities.
“Some government funding is available to help pay for a scheme, although additional funding is likely to be needed to complete construction.
“The EA and LCC are therefore working to secure any available European funding towards the scheme. The team are pursuing European funding and we are engaging with communities in advance of any full submission, this is why we wrote to communities in March.
“Subject to all funding being secured, a flood risk management scheme to provide improved flood protection to communities within Preston and South Ribble could be designed and constructed between 2019/2023.”
The Government announced in 2015 that several flood protection projects were being brought forward across the North West with improvements in Broadgate and Lower Penwortham, protecting 2,900 homes.
The Environment Agency told the Lancashire Post that this has now been expanded to cover more areas across Preston and South Ribble.
Several areas across Lancashire were hit by flash floods in 2015 with villages like Croston particularly affected. Meanwhile, areas in Lower Penwortham have been underwater on several occasions in recent years.
Riverside resident Wendy Donkin welcomed the start of the scheme but said her property has not been hit in recent floods.
She said: “We haven’t been affected and we have lived here for about 13 years.
“I think historically it’s about 25 years when they had the really bad floods and it flooded at the back of here and on the cricket club.
“But that was before they put the current barriers in.
“From safety point of view it’s a positive because I do worry when the water reaches the path.”
Carolanne Ainsworth of The Mini Centre garage, also on Riverway, said: “The barriers further up Broadgate we think are a bit older. You can’t say it won’t get worse though and the water level higher because of the climate.
“And if they do some work on the other side that may affect it over here.”