A bridge in Mytholmroyd could be demolished and rebuilt as part of plans to reduce the risk of flooding in the village.
When the upper Calder Valley was battered by torrential downpours on Boxing Day, homes, businesses and schools in Mytholmroyd all fell victim to the unprecedented deluge.
In May, former Environment Secretary Liz Truss announced a £10m funding boost for new flood defences and the proposals for Caldene Bridge form a part of that action plan. It is hoped the work, estimated to take around two years to complete and which will also involve widening channels and improvements to a culvert on White Lee Clough, will begin before the end of the year.
Adrian Gill, the Environment Agency’s area flood risk manager for West and South Yorkshire, said: “We have always said that we believe the solution is going to be a combination of physical works in Mytholmroyd itself, complemented by upstream measures. But we felt physical interventions would be the quickest way to give a measurable reduction in flood risk.
“For Mytholmroyd, we think the solution will entail raising walls, widening the channel and improvements to White Lee Clough.
“There are some key pinch points at Caldene Bridge and Greenhill Industrial Estate and we believe widening the channel in those locations and improving the structures will have a marked effect. We’re looking to move a new bridge further upstream. Building a new bridge reduces the impact of the disruption and allows us to build a better structure there. The capacity under the bridge is a constriction to flow in high water levels, so we need to increase the span on that bridge and we think the best way to do that, with the least disruption, is to build a new bridge upstream and then remove Caldene Bridge.”
Mr Gill said that the agency has been in negotiations with a number of landowners who will be affected by the works and those talks are still ongoing.
“We want to bring the community with us and, where possible, we want to make Mytholmroyd a better place. There are a number of people who are either directly or indirectly affected,” said Mr Gill.
“Most of the businesses and individuals we have approached have been open to those discussions. We have completed the purchase of a number of properties and others are in progress. I hope that they are all done in a positive manner and that most people think that this is a good move.”
The Environment Agency is encouraging people to share their views. The Mytholmroyd Flood Information Centre is open Monday and Friday, 10–4pm and Wednesdays from 1–7pm.