Final stage of Feniton flood defence work could be decided within weeks by East Devon planners

The final stage of work to finish a much-needed £6million flood defence plan for an East Devon village could be decided within weeks.

Plans for the final stages of a flood defence scheme in Feniton could be put before East Devon planners next month, writes local democracy reporter Bradley Gerrard.

The final phase of the long-running scheme in the village involves completing a culvert linking the previous three stages.

The earlier phases included a bypass channel downstream of the Exeter to Waterloo line, property protection measures, and an undertrack crossing of the railway line.

The total cost is expected to be just over £6 million, which come from the council and external sources.

East Devon District Council engineer Tom Buxton-Smith said planning permission had to be granted for this final stage, and if that was given next month, work might begin in August.

“There is an outstanding objection from the groundwater team at the Environment Agency, but we believe we can get that looked at and resolved so that the scheme can be recommended [by officers]for approval with no objections,” he said.

The council will enter into a £3.5 million contract with construction firm Kier, once planning permission is secured.

Mr Buxton-Smith said the council was investigating the possibility of claiming compensation from an external design consultant used by Network Rail for all or some of the costs paid to it “if they have designed something not up to standard and in error”.

A report for the cabinet meeting this week noted the council hoped the designers for Network Rail “are able to provide assurance… that their downstream culvert and the culvert under the railway is up to standard to deal with flood flows, so these do not need to be replaced”.

However, until it is confirmed that they were up to standard, “it is sensible to include their remedy cost within our project”.

Mr Buxton-Smith said the council should be able to secure government funding if extra cash is required, meaning the council would not have to stump up more of its own money.

Flooding in Feniton in 2014

Flooding in Feniton in 2014.Photo: with permission.

Tipton St John Primary School after it was flooded in 2016.

Tipton St John Primary School after it was flooded in 2016.

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