Deadline nears for flood defences vote
10th December 2013
The deadline for businesses to vote on whether they want flood defences installed in the Lower Don Valley area of Sheffield is drawing near.
More than 250 companies affected by the plans have until 5pm on Friday, December 13, to return their ballot papers and give their backing to the proposals, which cover nearly 40 interventions along the 8km stretch of the River Don, between Nursery Street in the city centre and the Blackburn Brook near the M1 motorway. The £8.1million scheme is reliant on businesses in the Lower Don Valley agreeing to contribute £1.4million to the cost of the defences through a Business Improvement District (BID). Businesses would make a payment calculated on their rateable value over a fixed period of five years to cover part of the building cost and ensure the river channel is properly maintained and kept clear. Small companies with a rateable value less than £12,000 will be excluded from paying towards the project, while more than 60 percent of businesses in the BID area would pay less than £2,500 over five years towards the flood defences and river management. The aim is to improve current standards of flood protection, which are estimated as low as a 1 in 25-year event standard, to a target of 1 in 100-year event standard, plus a 40cm freeboard to allow for future climate change. But without a majority yes vote from businesses to provide the private sector contribution the project will not go ahead. Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) has already provided £5.5million and an application has been submitted for a further £1.2million from the Environment Agency. Sheffield City Council and Sheffield Chamber of Commerce are liaising with businesses in the area to inform them of the proposals and the BID process. A range of meetings and forums have been taking place to allow affected businesses to ask any questions they have. The final drop-in sessions take place today (6 December), between 10am to12.45pm at Horizon Controls, Unit 10 Riverside Court on Don Road, Sheffield and 1.15pm to 4pm at Fre Flo, Unit 29, Jessop Riverside off Brightside Lane, Sheffield. Sheffield's Lower Don Valley was severely flooded in 2000 and 2007 causing massive disruption and multi-million pound damages to hundreds of businesses, power, transport and telecommunications infrastructure. The result of the ballot will be announced on December 16. For more information about the Sheffield Lower Don Valley flood protection project visit http://www.scci.org.uk/home/projects/sheffield-lower-don-valley-flood-defence-project