A decade after devastating floods washed through a Northumberland village, a £400,000 defence scheme is almost complete.
In the early hours of Sunday, January 9, 2005, the River Tyne rose to record levels after an unprecedented 24 hours of rainfall, creeping up Corbridge’s earth embankments and pouring over Station Road into The Stanners.
Cars were submerged up to their roofs and the ground floors of dozens of houses were waterlogged. A total of 45 properties were flooded.
Shortly after disaster struck, Environment Agency engineers replaced the embankments either side of the B6321 bridge but now work to improve protection for residents further is nearing completion.
This has included reinforcing a 400m section of the existing 60-year-old flood wall to prevent its failure during high river levels, and the installation of a new flood embankment downstream of the bridge so an old lock-up garage - known locally as the boathouse - is no longer needed as a makeshift flood defence.
Ted Thomas, project manager, said: “The existing flood wall had reached the end of its working life so we installed new steel sheet piles on the riverside to strengthen it.
“This work, and the building of the new embankment, will help reduce flood risk to around 40 properties in the Stanners area of the village.”
The work was part funded by Defra and the local levy, which is paid for through a small charge on council tax bills.
Engineers say the scheme will lessen the local flood risk to 37 homes, 98 hectares of agricultural land and 30 static caravans, as well as Corbridge’s rugby club, cricket club, electrical substation, allotments, public car park, cemetery and local roads.
Jean Armstrong, 65, formerly of Corbridge, lived in the village at the time,
She said: “It would be nice to think this would never happen again. Look at what happened in Morpeth a few years back, we don’t want to see a repeat of that.
“As much as possible, I hope this work protects people from any future flooding.”