Bid submitted to government for Welney Wash road improvement cash

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Ministers are being urged to help fund a multi-million pound plan to raise a Fenland road that is regularly flooded during bad weather.

The A1101 Welney Wash Road was shut to drivers for almost two months earlier this year because of the amount of rain that fell during a wave of storms that battered large parts of the country.

The road runs across the Ouse Washes flood storage reservoir, which is part of a national flood management network, and is regularly left submerged following bad weather.

When necessary, water is released from the River Great Ouse in the Bedford area so that it can be discharged into the sea at the Wash, and forcing drivers to take detours of up to 20 miles.

Now, Norfolk County Council has made a bid for £1.1 million of government money to be spent on raising the road so that it can be used regardless of the conditions.

The authority has also committed £400,000 of its own roads budget to the scheme and spent around £27,000 on new signs to monitor water levels and give drivers the latest information to help them to decide if they can use the road safely.

And Harry Humphrey, who represents the division, said: “We understand why the Ouse Washes flood but there needs to be a long-term solution that can limit the impact this has on our community.

“Our bid includes a proposal to carry out a feasibility study into possible solutions taking into account the potential impact of the scheme on nearby areas, such as the renowned bird reserve.

“Clearly, it depends on the outcome of this feasibility study, but this could be a really good solution to the problem.”

David Harrison, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for transport, has also called for the area’s MPs to support the bid.

He said: “Our projects can provide a long term solution to these ongoing problems, and have the potential to make a real difference to both residents and local businesses.

“There is a very tough set of criteria for securing funding, and we hope Henry Bellingham and Elizabeth Truss will feel able to support them and do everything possible to galvanise support for the scheme in the community and within Westminster.”

The issue is set to be discussed at a meeting between politicians, community leaders and representatives of the Environment Agency and local internal drainage boards in Downham Market this Friday .

And Ms Truss, whose South West Norfolk constituency includes Welney, has described the bid as “extremely encouraging.”

She said: “I will certainly continue to work with everyone to ensure progress is made and support Norfolk County Council in securing funds for road improvements.

“I do not want local residents and businesses to suffer more costly delays and diversions caused by the regular closure of the causeway.”