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24 September 2014
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Flood defence work will start later this year
Downton Floods

Margaret Peach, Parish and District Councillor, and head of the local flood committee tells BBC Wiltshire about the worst floods to hit Downton for 234 years.

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Downton village website

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Environment Agency floodline: 0845 988 1188

Flood defence work across Dorset, Wiltshire and parts of Hampshire will benefit from the agreement to spend nearly £5.8 million in 2002/3.

An overspill channel has been widened increasing its capacity and silt, branches and debris has been cleared from the River Avon, the Bunny, the Newcourt Carrier and the Mill Race.

The aim of the work is to ensure floodwater can flow away more easily.

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Downton flooded from the 9th - 19th December 2000.

flooded road
Forty properties were affected by the flooding in Dec 2000.
Forty properties were affected by river water, flood-plain excess or sewerage surcharge and seventeen families had to find alternative accommodation.

One household only returned in August 2001. The medieval village sits in a flood plain of the River Avon and has extensive watermeadows north and south of its main street.

December 2000 saw the worst floods for 234 years. In the last ten years Downton has been flooded four times; far more than anyone would expect looking at past records.

The Environment Agency worked up an alleviation scheme for this winter and the work started in September and lasted three weeks.

They redug the old Newcourt Carrier watercourse which had been blocked for many years.

This carries watermeadow water to the south of the village and into the river.
ditch in field
Part of a field was "reprofiled" to allow the free-flow of floodwater

The Newcourt carrier was also cleared north of the village to guide the watermeadows and natural drainage from the Downs into the system.

Various other works were also carried out. The B3080, the main road through the village which always has to be closed while the village is flooded, has a culvert that carries The Bunny watercourse.

Wiltshire County Council Environmental Dept. are currently replacing the culvert with a wider and deeper one to allow more water to move faster north to south.
flooded street
Boats provided the safest way of getting around.

The village awaits a full scheme to be progressed and started in the Autumn 2002.

DEFRA has accepted Downton as a special case and the scheme is included in the Accelerated Grant Aided Capital Programme for 2002/3.


 
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