PLANS for a defence scheme to protect Radcliffe and Redvales from flooding have been presented to residents.

The two areas were among the worst affected in Bury as the River Irwell burst its banks following unprecedented rainfall on Boxing Day 2015.

Discussions on how to protect the areas in future have been ongoing ever since, and a community drop-in session was held for local residents at Radcliffe Road Baptist Church on Wednesday, August 30.

The event - arranged by the Environment Agency and Bury Council - provided an opportunity for residents to comment on the options for minimising the impact of future flooding in the area.

Andy Cameron, of the Environment Agency, said: “Initial feedback from the community was incredibly positive.

“Two options were presented to residents, one featuring a flood storage area upstream of the Metrolink at Lower Hinds as well as raised flood defences at key locations along the river’s edge between Warth Mill and Close Park.

“The other option, which proved most popular, was similar but looks for opportunities to create more habitat and amenity areas by setting defences further back from the river where space allows.

“Preliminary costs estimate that this scheme could cost around £20-25m. Whilst the majority of the funding is already in place, there are still some discussions to be held with interested parties which may affect the scale of the work done, although this will not impact on the level of protection to homes and businesses.”

He added: “Work to date has been challenging with flooding issues in the area proving to be more complex than originally thought but we are working hard to secure the necessary approvals to develop the project further by early 2018.

“We hope to start work on site in 2020 with the first areas being completed in 2021. The overall scheme completion is expected to be around 2023.”

Cllr Alan Quinn, Bury Council’s cabinet member for the environmental, said:

“There is a funding gap at the minute, but the council has pledged to put £2 million towards the scheme.

“I will be attending the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee at the end of September and will continue to push for the scheme to go ahead as quickly as possible.”