A village badly affected by last month’s heavy rainfall will see flood defence work carried to prevent further tragedies.
Around 50 people attended a meeting in Chew Stoke last night to find out what is being done to stop future flooding after the deluge that wrecked homes and saw a man lose his life after his car became trapped in floodwater near a ford at Pilgrims Way.
The Environment Agency and Bath and North East Somerset Council promised residents both long term and short term solutions and vowed to give regular progress updates.
Flood monitoring equipment will also be looked at after it failed to give an early warning when torrential rain and storms caused the River Chew to burst its banks on November 23.
Councillor Alison Cunningham, chair of Chew Stoke Parish Council, which called the meeting, said surveys would be carried out immediately to identify areas that need attention along the river banks and roads. Warning signs will be placed on the road near the ford where the visiting motorist died as a short term measure.
A drop-in surgery will be held in January to give anyone who lives in flood risk area across the Chew Valley the chance to voice their individual concerns.
She added: “People are obviously very unsettled and very worried about what has happened but I hope the people were able to leave the meeting with a little more peace of mind.”
Those living in the village will also play their part with a flood warden scheme due to be launched in the village next month. This will be a group of residents who work together to help keep agencies updated and vulnerable residents safe if water levels begin to rise suddenly. A similar scheme already operates successfully in neighbouring Chew Magna.
B&NES Councillor Liz Richardson (Con, Chew Valley North) described the meeting as a ‘positive step forward’, and added: “It was a constructive meeting and informative for both sides. The local people who live with the floods were able to pass information to the authorities and likewise in return.”
Both councillors expressed their disappointment that Bristol Water failed to send a representative to the meeting despite earlier promises.
Communities in the Chew Valley have been forced to mop up in the aftermath of flooding twice in as many months after similar problems were faced in September when the River Chew and Winford Brook again burst their banks.