Senior councillor laments ‘disappointing’ rejection of flood alleviation grant by Welsh Government
The Lead Councillor for the Environment at Wrexham Council has said a rejecting of a bid for money to fix damage after Storm Christoph is “disappointing given the level of commitment that I personally received from both Lesley Griffiths and the Welsh Government”.
Storm Christoph saw torrential downpours resulting in a landslide in Newbridge, which caused a section of footpath to collapse down an embankment.
In February we documented how Wrexham Council’s deputy leader and Lead Member Environment and Transport David A Bithell had called for ministers to keep to their ‘promise’ to provide money to cover the costs of damage.
Wrexham.com asked about the issue yesterday, and what happened with the bid for funding, the result of which we had been told emerged recently.
Cllr Bithell said he has written to Welsh Government, and he expressed his “disappointment” that support for funding for the landslide on the B5605 between Newbridge and Cefn “will not be available”, with Cllr Bithell pointing to “discussions at the time of the floods when they visited some of the worst hit locations through the region” and he urged the Minister to reconsider the matter.
Cllr Bithell told us, “We did submit a bid for Newbridge, it was unsuccessful under the flood alleviation grant funding scheme. Basically, Welsh Government said it was outside their criteria. We have also had a meeting within Natural Resources Wales.”
“What happened? The bank and the embankments is still subsiding towards the river due to the Storm Christoph. Welsh Government have said that we’ve been unsuccessful, which we found disappointing given the level of commitment that I personally received from both Lesley Griffiths and the Welsh Government to say that they would fund schemes.
“What they have said since is that they are looking at another grant now that we may be able to bid into so our Officers are currently working with Welsh Government to see whether we can bid for grant funding under the transport scheme. It was disappointing because Newbridge is part of the diversion route for the A483, between Halton roundabout and Ruabon in the event of incidents.
“It is clearly impacting on local residents coming from Chirk, Newbridge, Cefn and the area around there, I did write to Ken Skates on Friday. I spoke to Simon Baynes MP last week and I have written to Lesley Griffiths. I’ve also written to Julie James, the Minister.
“It is disappointing that we didn’t get our initial response That said, all our other schemes that we’ve submitted, £1.5 million worth of flooding alleviation schemes across the county, we’ve had good indication that we’re likely to see some good news on them. But – we haven’t received any official letter from Welsh Government in respect of them schemes. We’re hopeful that we will very, very shortly.”
“I think the difference with the general flood schemes and this scheme is with it being a highway network embankment it’s a bit more complicated to submit for bids rather than a general flooding issue.”
Detailing the impact of the Newbridge problem Cllr Bithell said, “The B5605 provides critical road links between the two communities and the wider settlement areas at Chirk to the south and Plas Madoc/Ruabon to the north. Loss of this road link severs these communities causing distress and inconvenience on the many residents and businesses in these areas. Loss of this road link severs these communities causing distress and inconvenience on the many residents and businesses in these areas.
“Alternative routes are lengthy and inconvenient. In addition, as I have previously described, this stretch of the B5605 provides the alternative routes for the A483 trunk road. In the event of closures on the trunk road whether for planned works or emergencies, alternative routes are through necessity diverted via Llangollen, a fifteen mile diversion and this is clearly not sustainable.”
Cllr Bithell concluded by welcoming a meeting to discuss the matter further and options for possible solutions for communities in this area.
The council have told us the letters addressed to Lesley Griffith’s ministerial office have been sent to Julie James who now has responsibility under her portfolio, climate change.
Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email News@Wrexham.com