Date set for long-awaited under-track rail work crucial to Feniton flood prevention scheme

Long-awaited flood prevention work to protect 65 homes in Feniton – featuring an under-track railway crossing – is set to begin in September.

It is the third of four phases of an alleviation scheme that has been hit by years of delays including the Covid pandemic and funding issues.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) has confirmed it and Network Rail will make use of an existing closure of the Waterloo Line in the week beginning September 19.

Pre-crossing work is ‘likely’ to begin in early September and post-construction efforts will continue until the end of the month.

“After having to put up with the constant threat of flooding for years, an end at last may be in sight,” said EDDC Feniton representative Councillor Alasdair Bruce.

“I believe these works will go a long way to securing a dryer, safer and less stressful future for Feniton.

The Feniton Flood Alleviation Scheme is designed to take water from the north of the village, via a culverted pipeline, and back into a stream in the south.

Phase three will involve creating a small compound east of Green Lane to enable the construction of manhole chambers either side of the railway.

Once the railway line is closed, contractors will remove a section of rails and track bed and excavate a trench to install the new pipeline.

This will then be backfilled before the track bed is re-laid and rails are reinstalled.

Work will take place over 24 hours.

The under-track crossing will allow phase four – a 900-metre-long culverted pipeline running from Station Road to Ottery Road – to potentially begin in spring 2023.

Downstream channel improvements to properties south of Feniton and in Gosford have already been delivered as part of phases one and two.

Their performance will be further investigated as part of the ongoing works, says EDDC.

Cllr Jayne Blackmore, of Feniton Parish Council, said the ‘fantastic news’ follows ‘more than a decade of frustrations’.

She added: “This will be an enormous relief for those Feniton residents who have suffered the misery of frequent flooding, as well as the volunteer flood wardens who turn out all hours to help the community.”

Cllr Geoff Jung, EDDC portfolio holder for coast, country and environment, said: “At long last the saga of this long-awaited scheme to alleviate the surface water flooding at Feniton seems to be nearly over.

“I am sure the long-suffering residents will shortly be able to sleep a little more soundly when there is a storm, and no need to clamber out of bed to act as volunteer flood wardens.”

Funding finally found to finish £4million flood prevention scheme in Feniton

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