Children at an Ulverston school have helped to plant trees in a new community garden created on a flood risk site in the town.
The Environment Agency (EA) and contractors JBA Bentley have been working since 2015 on the Town Beck Flood Alleviation Scheme, an extensive project to repair and rebuild the Town Beck watercourse that flows through and under the town in underground culverts, to increase flood protection for residents and businesses.
As part of the overall Town Beck project, the EA needed to remove a number of trees to complete the work.
In total 22 trees had to be taken out that had been growing in to river walls, embankments and culverts that were creating a flood risk.
The EA committed to replace each tree removed with two new trees in a safe area where the trees will be able to grow and prosper.
South Lakeland District Council’s (SLDC’s) open spaces team worked with the EA on the resulting community garden project, to create a green space suitable for the 44 new trees.
The land where the new garden is being created is the site of the former Rascals, which suffered flooding in 2009, 2012 and 2015 and had to be demolished.
As part of the Town Beck work the EA has replaced a culvert and built a flood wall on the land to protect properties on the neighbouring Lund Terrace.
The new garden, alongside the council’s existing multi-use games area and park, will form a ‘flood plain’ in the event of further severe rainfall and will help protect the nearby homes.
Youngsters on the school council at the nearby Sir John Barrow School have been getting involved in the project, discussing the community park designs and being told about the flood alleviation work.
Today (9 November) the pupils joined teams of volunteers from the EA, SLDC and Ulverston Town Council to help plant some of the new trees.
Ten year-old Lucy Kelly, who helped to plant a bird cherry tree, said: “The tree is already twice my height and I’m going to keep coming back to see how much it grows. One day it’ll be one of the tallest trees here, as big as a house.”
Helping out with some of the digging was SLDC’s Portfolio holder for Environment, Councillor David Fletcher, who said: “This has been a huge project for the Environment Agency and it will benefit hundreds of homes and businesses in the town.
“We are delighted that SLDC has been able to contribute towards the creation of this new community garden and it is so nice to see the youngsters from Sir John Barrow School getting involved in today’s tree planting.
“This marks the beginning of the end for the Town Beck scheme and helps to create a lasting legacy for future generations to enjoy.’’
EA Flood Manager, Dan Bond, said: “We have worked in partnership with South Lakeland District, Cumbria County and Ulverston Town councils, Network Rail and United Utilities on the £9.3 million Town Beck Flood Alleviation scheme.
“When completed, it will reduce flood risk to 407 homes and 118 businesses in Ulverston town centre.
“During this intensive project, we had remove a number of trees for the construction to take place, but it’s great that we have replaced them with twice as many being planted.”
The Town Beck scheme is due to be completed by Christmas this year.