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Thursday, 30 October 2014

Would you give £1 a month to pay for flood defences?

A proposal for Cockermouth people to pay an extra £1 a month on their council tax to finance flood defences has been put forward.

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FLOOD QUESTION: Sue Cashmore

Sue Cashmore, chairman of the town’s flood action group, raised the idea at an election hustings event held on Tuesday.

It was met with approval by the 50-plus audience.

The Environment Agency has designed a £5.5 million flood defence scheme for the town, mostly funded by the Government.

But the town needs to commit to raising a £200,000 shortfall towards the work before it can go ahead. It has three years to raise the cash.

The group plans to meet with the town council after the May 5 elections to discuss how £200,000 can be raised and to conduct a straw poll of residents about the idea of an extra levy on the council tax.

The extra charge – which would work out at £10 a year – would be for three years.

Ms Cashmore said the response of the hustings audience was the first real indication that residents were willing to help fund the defences.

She said: “It’s proving the point that the residents are behind this.

“If you get the community behind you, you can achieve a lot. It shows that we’re united as a community.

“I don’t think people mind paying a little bit if they can see exactly how they’re going to benefit.”

Adrian Coyle, of Papcastle, a member of the flood action group, asked the seven election candidates who attended the Kirkgate Centre hustings event how they would help to raise the cash.

Revenue from car parking charges was suggested as an option.

Ms Cashmore said the group was investigating other ways to raise the cash, including contributions from businesses.

The planned scheme would feature automatic rising barriers, the first in the country, at Rubbybanks Road.

There would also be walls and raised embankments at other areas, including Waterloo Street and Memorial Gardens.

It will protect the town against a one-in-100-year flood risk.

The town has already paid £188,000 towards other flood defence work in the town, raised from Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund, the Round Table, Rotary, Churches Together in Cockermouth and the Highways Agency.

Ms Cashmore said a likely £10,000 surplus from that would go towards the £200,000.

If a commitment is given by the town by the end of this financial year, work could begin on the new defences next April, with completion likely by winter 2012.

Cockermouth would not have to find the £200,000 immediately.

l Would you pay £10 a year for the next three years to fund flood defence work? Or is there another way to raise the cash? Tell us what you think. Write to us, email us at news.ts@cnmedia.co.uk or log on to www.timesandstar.co.uk and comment on this article.

Have your say

AMAZED MAN, im quite happy on my hill thanks. As i stated previously I DID help many people in the floods thanks, so please dont refer to me as a narrow minded fool. I DO pay my taxes as do other's only to be told its not enough, give us more!! Its the greeedy council wanting to SQUEEEZE every last drop out of us as usual. Might i also remind you Mr Amazed Man our same, greedy council are the very same charging us a fortune to park in cockermouth and if that wasnt enough, they think they shouldnt provide us with change and they reap the benefits from that as well!! Idea:- Mr Amazed Man you can put our share of the council tax in if you like, how's about that for an idea;)

Posted by Mrs E on 28 April 2011 at 12:55

Those that were flooded didnt shout hard enough to their insurance companies to ensure that local building companies got the much needed work, Main St was overflowing with companies from away so why should us locals now pay.

Posted by Fed up on 27 April 2011 at 21:19

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