Council to go to the PM over flood cash

Flooding in Croston Station Road
Flooding in Croston Station Road
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Prime Minister David Cameron is to be asked by Chorley Council to cough up cash for a flood prevention scheme in Croston.

A council proposal to help plug a £1.1m gap in the funding by getting villagers to pay themselves, has been put on hold.

Now the council is calling on the Prime Minister to “honour his pledge” to fund flood defence schemes.

A £6m scheme has been drawn up to prevent Croston homes being flooded, and the Environment Agency has secured £4m funding for it.

The council is to write to David Cameron and the secretary of state for the environment, food and rural affairs urging them to ensure the funding gap is bridged.

At a meeting of the council’s executive cabinet, Coun Peter Wilson, the deputy leader, said: “It’s a regional problem so the cost shouldn’t fall on to us, yet we’ve been put in a position where it seems that if we don’t fund this shortfall then the scheme will be lost and that’s wrong, so we’ll go back to the Government and ask them to reconsider.”

The decision to write to the government received cross-party support at the meeting and the council is also to write to South Ribble MP Lorraine Fullbrook whose constituency includes Croston, urging her to lobby the government.

Now the decision to consult locally on how to fund the shortfall will be taken at a future meeting of the executive cabinet, depending on the government’s response to the council’s letters.

Coun Steve Holgate said: “There’s no indication there’s a shortage of money for the schemes at the Somerset Levels or Thames Valley, so why isn’t the funding there for us?”

Councillor Alan Whittaker said it would be “inappropriate would be to try and make up the shortfall by charging the residents of Croston when 95 per cent of households in the village have never been flooded”.

Coun Mark Perks, leader of the Conservative group, said; “As a group and leader we are supportive of the decision to contact the Government’s Environment Agency to request they look at funding the shortfall for the scheme.

“However, the timescale is very tight and everything needs to be in place for March 2015 otherwise it will not go ahead. I would not wish to see Croston flooding prevention scheme placed at risk.

“The £4m investment already committed for the scheme is a considerable amount if all else fails then we would call on LCC and Chorley Council to make good the shortfall we do not support any form of levy on the residents of Croston.”