River Churn in Cirencester must be dug deeper to avoid future floods, according to Cotswold councillor David Broad

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Cllr David Broad Cllr David Broad

THE River Churn in Cirencester has to be made deeper if the town is to avoid another spate of serious flooding, according to a district councillor.

Cllr David Broad (Con, Chedworth) told the Standard that the only way that Cirencester can be made flood free is if the river itself is able to hold out against an increase in water flow.

He said: “I believe that the bottom of the river needs to be cleared – that is what keeps causing the floods.

“The Environment Agency needs to increase the amount of flowing water that the Churn can handle. If they solved the problem of the water in the river, then Thames Water’s problem of river water entering the sewer would go straight away.”

Cllr Broad said that he believed the bottom of the River Churn is several feet higher than what it was many years ago due to a build of debris such as silt and mud.

He also pointed out that his constituency of Chedworth has not flooded since 2007 after measures were put in place to deepen the bottom of the River Coln, which runs close to the village.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “We will continue to deliver watercourse maintenance in Cirencester to allow effective drainage during minor flood events. Excavating watercourses deeper than their natural bed level, by dredging, would not necessarily reduce property flood risk.

“Another practical concern is the in-channel restrictions created by culverts and low bridges. These structures have a permanent bed level which cannot easily be lowered and consequently limits the amount of water that can flow through them.”

The Environment Agency also said that the impact of this year’s flooding had been reduced by the delivery of the River Churn strategy, which is said to provide flood protection to Cirencester, South Cerney and Cerney Wick for the next 30 years.

Modifications to flood gates and the construction of flood walls were delivered as part of the River Churn strategy.

For more information, visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk.

Comments (7)

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11:02am Sat 25 Jan 14

Geoff66 says...

Mmm politicians wading into the flooding debate...it sounds just like what is happening in Somerset. Com'on Cllr. Broad this isn't exactly rocket science and this is something that locals having been saying for years and years, if not generations.

However this isn't the only solution, and must be part of a package of significant improvements and developments along the rivers passage. Including clearing out fallen trees, removing heavily weeded areas and rebuilding and shoring up broken banks.....as well as looking at surface water issues and problem areas, and sorting out failing or inappropriate drains and sewerage systems.

What's next Cllr. Broad? plans to:
- fix the A417 missing link?
- silence the noisy section of the A417?
- regenerate the centre of Cirencester?
Mmm politicians wading into the flooding debate...it sounds just like what is happening in Somerset. Com'on Cllr. Broad this isn't exactly rocket science and this is something that locals having been saying for years and years, if not generations. However this isn't the only solution, and must be part of a package of significant improvements and developments along the rivers passage. Including clearing out fallen trees, removing heavily weeded areas and rebuilding and shoring up broken banks.....as well as looking at surface water issues and problem areas, and sorting out failing or inappropriate drains and sewerage systems. What's next Cllr. Broad? plans to: - fix the A417 missing link? - silence the noisy section of the A417? - regenerate the centre of Cirencester? Geoff66
  • Score: 3

2:54pm Sat 25 Jan 14

David Broad says...

Yes Geoff, I was pushing for the A417 mossing link dualling in 2003 4 years before Cllr Hodgkinson jumoed in the band wagon.
My specific comment is the river bed under Spitalgate Lane bridge and Hereward Lane bridges should be deepened, not just cleaned out, deepened to give more cross sectional area and allow more water under rather than over Spitalgate Lane and Hereward Road. The River cannot be widened nor the bridges raised. At present foood waters enters the sewers West of spitalgate lane and flows out through residents WC or manholes unless Thames pumps sewage into Abbey Grounds.
My bloke with a shovel solution may not be as excitimg as the alternative of endless rows with Thames Water, which is why I don't supoose anyone will bother to do it when the river drys up in summer.
Yes Geoff, I was pushing for the A417 mossing link dualling in 2003 4 years before Cllr Hodgkinson jumoed in the band wagon. My specific comment is the river bed under Spitalgate Lane bridge and Hereward Lane bridges should be deepened, not just cleaned out, deepened to give more cross sectional area and allow more water under rather than over Spitalgate Lane and Hereward Road. The River cannot be widened nor the bridges raised. At present foood waters enters the sewers West of spitalgate lane and flows out through residents WC or manholes unless Thames pumps sewage into Abbey Grounds. My bloke with a shovel solution may not be as excitimg as the alternative of endless rows with Thames Water, which is why I don't supoose anyone will bother to do it when the river drys up in summer. David Broad
  • Score: -8

4:56pm Sat 25 Jan 14

Olly Cromwell says...

In next week's exciting Standard the village idiot will be calling for clouds to stop hovering over houses "coz it's them that bring us all this ere wet water"
In next week's exciting Standard the village idiot will be calling for clouds to stop hovering over houses "coz it's them that bring us all this ere wet water" Olly Cromwell
  • Score: 5

8:20pm Sat 25 Jan 14

Robert Jeanes says...

'Dredging' is the key word. Unheard of locally in my lifetime with one exception. The Windrush at Burford was mechanically dredged in 1948/9 ish. Huge messy piles of silt I recall alongside this picturesque river in the adjacent fields. It would upset a lot of interests but a river bed is primarily a conduit for water; all else would catch up given time and, in my view, be beneficial ultimately as would local communities.
The Churn is receiving more water in Cirencester. So is the Coln at Fairford where 'clearing' here occasionally involves tinkering with summer weed, and then only on a tiny section of it.
Dredging then..... It might appear brave and radical. Perhaps, but rather more sensible than relentlessly building brand-new housing Estates both alongside the Coln and nearby in well-drained (gravel) fields.
'Dredging' is the key word. Unheard of locally in my lifetime with one exception. The Windrush at Burford was mechanically dredged in 1948/9 ish. Huge messy piles of silt I recall alongside this picturesque river in the adjacent fields. It would upset a lot of interests but a river bed is primarily a conduit for water; all else would catch up given time and, in my view, be beneficial ultimately as would local communities. The Churn is receiving more water in Cirencester. So is the Coln at Fairford where 'clearing' here occasionally involves tinkering with summer weed, and then only on a tiny section of it. Dredging then..... It might appear brave and radical. Perhaps, but rather more sensible than relentlessly building brand-new housing Estates both alongside the Coln and nearby in well-drained (gravel) fields. Robert Jeanes
  • Score: 4

8:42pm Sat 25 Jan 14

cirenlocal says...

It's always disappointing to see ignorance. It's particularly disappointing to see it in elected representatives.

A river bed is so much more than a conduit of water Robert. What a sad life you must lead not to appreciate it.

Dredging and increasing velocity of water is proven to increase flood risk in general, not decrease it.
It's always disappointing to see ignorance. It's particularly disappointing to see it in elected representatives. A river bed is so much more than a conduit of water Robert. What a sad life you must lead not to appreciate it. Dredging and increasing velocity of water is proven to increase flood risk in general, not decrease it. cirenlocal
  • Score: 2

9:19pm Sat 25 Jan 14

Robert Jeanes says...

Not so sad that I could teach you how to tie Mayflies and nymphs and outwit fish and spot otter spraints...... and, I have 65 years of water-watching under my belt .....starting with Burford as it happens. Ever tickled a trout? And eaten it?
I hope 'you' are not referring to me as an 'elected representative' ???

And not a few do give me credit for choosing not to use a (very sad), phoney identity.
Not so sad that I could teach you how to tie Mayflies and nymphs and outwit fish and spot otter spraints...... and, I have 65 years of water-watching under my belt .....starting with Burford as it happens. Ever tickled a trout? And eaten it? I hope 'you' are not referring to me as an 'elected representative' ??? And not a few do give me credit for choosing not to use a (very sad), phoney identity. Robert Jeanes
  • Score: 1

9:48pm Sat 25 Jan 14

cirenlocal says...

Ignorance comment aimed at the elected rep in the article.
Yes tickled a trout, but not eaten it.
Apologies, you clearly know the importance of rivers as more than just conduits of water. That makes your statement a little incongruous.
You're certainly correct IMHO that the deleterious effects of dredging on biodiversity are reversible. The bigger problem is that dredging does little to reduce flood risk over the long term, and what little it does achieve in the short term just transfers risk to sometime else.
Ignorance comment aimed at the elected rep in the article. Yes tickled a trout, but not eaten it. Apologies, you clearly know the importance of rivers as more than just conduits of water. That makes your statement a little incongruous. You're certainly correct IMHO that the deleterious effects of dredging on biodiversity are reversible. The bigger problem is that dredging does little to reduce flood risk over the long term, and what little it does achieve in the short term just transfers risk to sometime else. cirenlocal
  • Score: 8

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