£4 million floods cash would help keep employers in Worcestershire, says council (From Evesham Journal)
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£4 million floods cash would help keep employers in Worcestershire, says council
THE man in charge of Worcestershire's economy has rallied behind a £4 million bid to keep flooding at bay - saying it is vital to stop employers leaving for elsewhere.
John Hobbs, one of Worcestershire County Council's top directors, says the Government needs to step in and help beef up flooding resilience.
As your Worcester News revealed in April, a £4 million bid has been made to the Government for more flooding alleviation measures, which is expected to focus on protecting New Road.
If the cash is forthcoming new engineering work will take place along the important route, which runs along the cricket ground, to stop it flooding.
The bid has been made by Worcestershire's Local Enterprise Partnership, which worked with the council in preparing it.
Mr Hobbs, director for business, the environment and community at County Hall said: "We don't want businesses going elsewhere because we're not doing anything about flooding.
"An important part of this whole plan isn't just about growth (in the economy), it's about business retention too."
Peter Blake, head of integrated transport, said: "Strictly speaking this doesn't tick a 'jobs' or 'economic growth' box, but it does give people assurances we're trying to do more things to tackle flooding."
The flooding over the winter period saw the main Worcester Bridge closed after New Road flooded.
It cost £640,000 to deal with across Worcestershire, with 108 homes and 55 businesses flooded, although if the existing defences were not in place the figures would have been far higher.
Since those events the county council has made some kind of flooding prevention project a priority, but it depends on the success of the bid.
The £4 million ask is part of a series of bids totalling £250 million by the LEP, which is competing with 35 other parts of the country for some money.
The Government has £2 billion a year available for the best projects, and a first announcement on awards for the 2015/16 financial year is expected in August.
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