Worcester City Council leader calls on Cameron to pay for river crossing

Evesham Journal: David Cameron during his visit to Upton amid the recent flooding crisis David Cameron during his visit to Upton amid the recent flooding crisis

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".

They include:
- 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

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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 gordon.morris@malvernhills.gov.uk or ring 01684 862151.

To sign Mr Bennion's petition visit philbennion.org.

Comments (7)

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9:26am Tue 25 Feb 14

High Time says...

Where exactly would Councillor Gregson suggest the new bridge is built in the City?
Where exactly would Councillor Gregson suggest the new bridge is built in the City? High Time

9:35am Tue 25 Feb 14

Guy66 says...

How about investing in dualing the southern link road bridge. In fact build a mirror of the current bridge and divert the new dual lanes, one direction of each crossing.....
How about investing in dualing the southern link road bridge. In fact build a mirror of the current bridge and divert the new dual lanes, one direction of each crossing..... Guy66

9:45am Tue 25 Feb 14

Chipper Dinosaur says...

A new/old train station in St John's would do the trick
A new/old train station in St John's would do the trick Chipper Dinosaur

12:53pm Tue 25 Feb 14

orla nutting says...

More bandwagon politics from the councillor.
The problem isn't the flood, it's the traffic and two town bridges would just jam up the centre faster and who's going to fund a new bridge for a once every 7 years problem?
The real need, as other's have said, is for dualling of the Southern Link Rd from the A4103/A44 roundabout to the M5 to address an everyday problem before any more thought is given to creating the 'Northern' link road to the A449 and thus keep through traffic out of town and St Johns. On any given day it's often quicker to get from St Johns to the M5 through town rather the link road.
More bandwagon politics from the councillor. The problem isn't the flood, it's the traffic and two town bridges would just jam up the centre faster and who's going to fund a new bridge for a once every 7 years problem? The real need, as other's have said, is for dualling of the Southern Link Rd from the A4103/A44 roundabout to the M5 to address an everyday problem before any more thought is given to creating the 'Northern' link road to the A449 and thus keep through traffic out of town and St Johns. On any given day it's often quicker to get from St Johns to the M5 through town rather the link road. orla nutting

1:24pm Tue 25 Feb 14

TheRealFacts says...

You have all missed the main cause of the traffic..

There is no complete ring road around worcester.

The ring road needs to be completed round worcester with a new bridge near hallow/ university to meet the A449. the southern link does need to be duelled but we need another bridge on the other side of the city first.
You have all missed the main cause of the traffic.. There is no complete ring road around worcester. The ring road needs to be completed round worcester with a new bridge near hallow/ university to meet the A449. the southern link does need to be duelled but we need another bridge on the other side of the city first. TheRealFacts

1:39pm Tue 25 Feb 14

liloliluk says...

We need a bridge connecting the north of Worcester with Hallow (or somewhere in that area), NOT another bridge in the city centre. If we have another bridge right in the centre, that'll just mean two bridges closed when this happens again, rather than just one. And we don't need even more traffic trying to get through the centre of town.

A bridge from Hallow to the north of Worcester would mean the people from St Johns could easily get to the M5 so wouldn't need to go through the centre of town or along the southern link road. Surely that would then make the whole of the southern link road less busy?
We need a bridge connecting the north of Worcester with Hallow (or somewhere in that area), NOT another bridge in the city centre. If we have another bridge right in the centre, that'll just mean two bridges closed when this happens again, rather than just one. And we don't need even more traffic trying to get through the centre of town. A bridge from Hallow to the north of Worcester would mean the people from St Johns could easily get to the M5 so wouldn't need to go through the centre of town or along the southern link road. Surely that would then make the whole of the southern link road less busy? liloliluk

9:08pm Tue 25 Feb 14

skychip says...

Why are the Council so against finishing off the ring road. Would be good to have their comments.
Why are the Council so against finishing off the ring road. Would be good to have their comments. skychip

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