Lower Don Valley flood defences BID period to commence

20th June 2014

Companies involved in the Lower Don Valley Flood Defence Business Improvement District (BID) will begin contributing to its construction from 1 July 2014, with the first business rates levy issued this week.

The BID project will see more than 250 companies contribute approximately £1.4million to the defences over the next five years, until 30 June 2019. In December 2013, businesses voted in favour of paying towards the £19million scheme, which has also secured £12.1million from the Environment Agency and £5.5million from the DEFRA Growth Fund. The finance will enable more than 50 interventions to be installed across an 8km stretch of the River Don between Nursery Street in the City Centre and Blackburn Brook near the M1. This will improve flood protection levels up to and including a 1 in 100 year standard, plus the addition of a freeboard to help mitigate against climate change in the future. The project will also include maintenance of the river channel over the five-year BID term. Since the start of 2014, Sheffield City Council has been working with appointed contractor, Carillion, and the Environment Agency to develop detailed designs for the various interventions. A total of five planning applications are due to be submitted by the end of June 2014. Construction work is expected to start in the autumn, with the intention of the defences being completed by the spring of 2016. Businesses will make a payment to the BID 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 are excluded from paying towards the project, while more than 60 per cent of businesses in the BID area paying less than £2,500 over five years. The Council and Sheffield Chamber of Commerce have been liaising closely with businesses in the area for the last three years to inform them of the flood defences proposals, the BID process and levels of contributions. Richard Wright, executive director for Sheffield Chamber, said: -Work to install the flood defences is well underway with the intention for all interventions to be installed within two years. Public funding has been secured and now is the right time to begin the BID period with the private sector. -Whilst nobody wants to pay more money I am convinced that this is great value for money for the businesses involved and they will reap the return in insurance costs over the next few years. Even since we started the project floods have become a bigger issue across the country and it is good to know we got in first and secured the funding, before it becomes even more difficult. Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Environment, Recycling and Streetscene at Sheffield City Council, said: -Businesses in the Lower Don Valley know very well the massive disruption and multi-million pound damage flooding can cause, as well as its impact on power, transport and telecommunications. -They recognised the need to support this project by voting in favour of the contributions to the BID. We are immensely proud of the way the private and public sectors have joined forces with this project to combat against such an occurrence happening again. -These improvements to the Lower Don Valley will not only make the river a safer place but help raise awareness of the maintenance and riparian responsibilities of all in this part of the city. BIDs are common in other large cities, but this was the first for Sheffield, and the first in the country around a construction scheme, such as flood defences.

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