Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Lower Don Valley businesses vote yes to flood defences

Cars in flood water
Image caption The 2007 floods caused millions of pounds of damage in Sheffield

Businesses in part of Sheffield badly hit by flooding six years ago have voted to contribute £1.4m towards a major flood defence scheme.

Hundreds of properties in Sheffield's Lower Don Valley were damaged when the River Don burst in 2007.

Most of the £16m cost of flood walls, flood gates and repairs to existing defences will come from Sheffield City Council and the government.

Sheffield Chamber of Commerce said the vote was "an important decision".

In total, 89 companies out of the 268 balloted by the Chamber of Commerce voted - a turnout of 35%.

Out of those 89 businesses, 73 voted in favour of setting up a Business Improvement District, meaning firms will make payments towards the scheme based on the rateable value of their property.

'Tough period'

The chamber said 60% of businesses would pay less than £2,500 over five years, with small firms with a rateable value less than £12,000 being exempt.

The flooding in South Yorkshire in June 2007 claimed two lives and caused millions of pounds worth of damage.

Plans for the defences along 5 miles (8km) of the river, from Sheffield centre to Blackburn Brook near to the M1, have been submitted by the city council.

Richard Wright, from Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said: "We realise it has been a tough period for companies, so we very much appreciate this long-term commitment businesses are showing to improving the Lower Don Valley area".

Work on the flood defence scheme is expected to start early next year, with completion due by late 2015.

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