A new scheme to help reduce the risk of flooding in a South Tyneside village has been put to the test for the first time after the area was hit by surge of rain.
The £1.2m Cleadon Flood Alleviation Scheme was designed to give added protection to around 130 homes and businesses with measures implemented in the Cleadon Lea and Sunderland Road areas of Cleadon Village to help mitigate surface water flooding.
Work carried out over the autumn period involved creating an embankment and an area north of the Cleadon Lea estate to catch overland flows from nearby fields.
Improvements were also made to the drainage ditches at West Hall Farm to increase the capacity for surface water and reduce the amount of water entering the drainage system on Sunderland Road.
As expected, the new water storage area at Cleadon Lea filled up with rainwater overnight on Thursday last week. Though the new basin only reached around five per cent of its full capacity, it is believed that the area would have experienced some flooding issues had the improvements not been made.
Councillor Joan Atkinson, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council and Cleadon and East Boldon ward member, said: "The Cleadon Flood Alleviation Scheme has not long been complete, but we are delighted that the new measures are already proving their worth.
"They withstood the recent rainfall and successfully stored the excess water, which otherwise would have run off fields towards properties in Sunderland Road. We believe that without them, there would have been a real risk of flooding in the area.
"Incidents like this underline the importance of the work we are doing across the Borough to provide better protection for local residents and businesses. We are also extremely encouraged by some positive feedback from residents that they feel reassured by our efforts to help safeguard their properties from flooding."
Since the work was completed, the Cleadon Lea area has been seeded with wetland wildflowers, creating a valuable area for habitat which residents will be able to view from a platform behind Cleadon Lea.
Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety said: "It is important to note that it is never possible to guarantee that an area will remain flood free.
"While we can still expect there to be some standing water in fields on occasion, the new design does allow for any excess water to drain away quickly. However, there is no doubt that measures such as these go a long way to helping to improve resilience to flooding by better controlling the flow of surface water.
"This particular scheme is just one of a number of initiatives aimed at reducing the impact of flooding on our communities, taking into account the different types of flooding and risks faced in the Borough due to factors such as the coast, rivers and historical flood issues."