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.

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