Wordsworth House tourism fears over £4m flood work
Last updated at 19:32, Thursday, 23 February 2012
Plans for Cockermouth’s £4.3 million flood defences have sparked an objection by the National Trust, which claims they could affect visitor numbers at the town’s Wordsworth House.
The trust said it was concerned about the visual impact on William Wordsworth’s childhood home.
It was concerned that a workers’ compound would be visible from the grade one listed house beside the River Derwent.
A planning application for the flood defences has been lodged with Allerdale council, but the trust has submitted a ‘holding objection’ to it.
The trust added that it was worried that the work had been timed with its main visitor season.
It has entered talks with the Environment Agency about minimising the impact if the plan gets the go-ahead but said its objections remained current.
The trust also questioned the necessity of a flood gate on Low Sand Lane. It was concerned about how its design and appearance would impact on nearby Wordsworth House and whether it would obscure the majority of the house.
A trust spokesman said: “An initial meeting has taken place on site between representatives of the Environment Agency and its appointed consultants and of the National Trust to discuss the proposed works and their implementation.
“We have discussed in particular the permanent flood defence measures in the vicinity of Wordsworth House, including how they link in to the grade one listed building.
“As a result there is a better understanding on both sides about the flood works and about the heritage issues that arise.”
It is hoped that some work can take place in the off-season and that the compound would only be in place between October and February.
Keith Roddy, Environment Agency project manager, said: “We are working closely with the National Trust and Allerdale council on our designs for the Cockermouth Flood Risk Management Scheme, to ensure our proposals blend in with the appearance of the local area.
“We are also working hard to plan our construction work to minimise disruption to the local community and avoid having an impact on visitors.”
Sue Cashmore, chairman of Cockermouth Flood Action Group, said: “I hope that common sense prevails. We need to get everybody to talk about a compromise and working in partnership.
“We still want to make this happen because we want this town protected.”
Miss Cashmore added that if the defences were built, they would help to protect Wordsworth’s childhood home, which had its gardens and walls severely damaged in the 2009 floods.
The Government recently agreed to pay £3.3 million towards the town’s defences.
Cockermouth residents will pay an extra levy on their council tax over three years to raise £120,000, and Cumbria Community Foundation has contributed £100,000.
The town’s 458 businesses have been asked to donate the equivalent of one per cent of their business rates over three years, and Cumbria County Council and Allerdale council have both agreed to contribute.
The work includes an earth embankment in the Memorial Gardens, a flood gate and wall at Graves Mill, a flood gate at Waterloo Street, and raising an existing wall at Hatters Croft.
A self-closing flood barrier and a new flood wall along Rubbybanks Road have also been included in the designs.
First published at 19:22, Thursday, 23 February 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
Have your say
Why do people think new flood defences will make any difference to insurance premiums? Insurance is based on WHAT HAS HAPPENED and not what may happen. Ask yourself what is the main question asked when re-insuring your car - is it not have you had an accident BEFORE? Its the same will all insurance including flood cover. The defences will make no difference at all to insurance premiums of whether you get insurance at all.Dig a little deeper and press those in the know and see how they avoid the more important questions.
Everyone has had the chance to comment on the designs. I would have thought someone from Wordsworth House would walk the 5oo yds or so to see the exhibition on Main Street. These issues should have been sorted out then and not now. If these plans do not go ahead then we will be counting the costs with regards to NO household or business insurance for everyone and no Cockermouth town centre!
A little sacrifice today, will be worth it in the long term.
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