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Worcester City Council leader calls on Cameron to pay for river crossing
A CITY leader is calling on David Cameron’s government to fund a new River Severn crossing.
Councillor Adrian Gregson, leader of Worcester City Council, has formally written to the prime minister urging him to pay for a new crossing after the recent floods, which hit businesses and the public hard.
Cllr Gregson said the fallout from the latest floods were yet another example of why a new crossing was needed in the city and came as high winds battered the county across the weekend – including bringing down a tree which smashed boats used by rowers from the University of Worcester, on the riverside, at Pitchcroft.
The club has now launched an appeal to raise £50,000 to replace the equipment.
“We should seriously investigate the potential for a new, second bridge within Worcester and I would like to call on the Government to fund this project," Cllr Gregson said.
More help is on the way for devastated flood victims in Worcestershire as pleas were being made to finally make the county "flood friendly".
- A major petition launched in Worcester asking the Government to secure money from a £400 million EU pot for weather-related disasters
- Worcester-based Mary Dhonau, chief executive of the Know Your Flood Risk Campaign, called for extra trees to be planted and more permeable paving to be laid in the county to soak in water
- Flooded households in the Malvern Hills district were offered £250 to help deal with the aftermath
At a Downing Street press conference during the crisis, Mr Cameron said: "Money is no object in this relief effort.
"Whatever money is needed, we will spend it."
And the letter from Worcester City Council, which has now been sent to Mr Cameron, who made a visit to Upton upon Severn during the latest round of flooding, saying "if money really is no object", then the council wants cash for a new river crossing.
It also highlights the city's "high proportion of independent traders" who found things very difficult when Worcester Bridge was closed.
In Malvern, around 50 homes were damaged by flooding and the district council says a £250 grant is now available for each property.
If all the homes apply it will cost taxpayers around £12,500, but the council says it wanted to show some solidarity with the gesture.
Councillor David Hughes, leader at Malvern Hills District Council, said: "We hope this small grant might help residents towards getting back on their feet and rebuilding their lives after the terrible flooding in recent weeks."
The grants are on top of the Government-backed awards worth up to £5,000.
Mrs Dhonau said the cash was welcome, but that much more needs to be done.
"David Cameron says lessons have been learnt, but I've lost count of the number of times politicians have said that," she said.
"There is so much more we could do - we could plant more trees, use permeable paving, make areas like Worcestershire really 'flood friendly'.
"That's what needs to happen, because these floods will come around again."
Worcester City Council has now sent Mr Cameron a letter saying "if money really is no object" it wants cash for a new river crossing.
The letter, from leader Councillor Adrian Gregson, said the city "has a high proportion of independent traders" that found things very difficult when Worcester Bridge was closed.
Elsewhere, a petition has been launched asking the Government to tap into the EU's solidarity fund to get extra money for flood victims.
The fund is worth £400 million this year and is available to countries suffering any weather-related problems looking for help restoring roads, properties and general clean-up operations.
Around 100 people signed it on Saturday at Worcester Bridge, after Worcestershire MEP Phil Bennion spent an hour there.
The money can only be released if a government of an EU country puts in a bid within 10 weeks of any damage being caused.
Mr Bennion said: "Most of the structural damage was on the south west coast but the clean-up cost in Worcester alone is substantial."
The Government has already announced a £130 million package to help homes, businesses and farmers recover from the floods.
It includes 100 per cent business rate relief for three months for flooded firms, and home owner repair grants worth up to £5,000.
To apply for the £250 Malvern grant email Gordon Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 01684 862151.
To sign Mr Bennion's petition visit philbennion.org.
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