Work has begun on a new flood prevention system in Northampton, which will involve building a water storage tank underneath a primary school.
The £450,000 scheme, designed to alleviate flooding risks in nearby streets, will be installed underneath part of the playing field at Bridgewater Primary School in Taunton Avenue, Abington.
Anglian Water has assured the school that work will take place over the weekends to avoid disrupting pupils.
But to ensure the safety of the residents and the public, there will be traffic management in place at the intersection of Taunton Avenue and Lynmouth Avenue from January 19 to 30.
Some initial assessments before pipes are laid down are already taking place in Taunton Avenue, the street that is most prone to flooding in the area during heavy rain due to hard ground surfaces.
A spokesman from contracted workers Barhale Constructions said: “The pipes will take that run-off water into the storage tank, where it will stay until the water levels balance out and it can flow naturally away.”
Building work in Taunton Avenue will officially begin this Saturday (January 17) and is set to continue on weekends until March 31. Some additional work will also take place in the Billing Road East allotment gardens during the working week.
Alison Harvey, Bridgewater Primary head teacher, said: “We’re pleased that Anglian Water has listened to our concerns about the timing of the work. We understand the school grounds are the only suitable place for the flood water storage pipe, and to stop local homes flooding. The weekend work agreed means disruption to children will be avoided.”
Alison Barnes, Taunton Avenue resident as well as a teacher, will have some of the piping system laid under her garden and lives in the most flood-prone part of the street.
She said: “We’ve had floods about four or five times since we have been living here, which involved sewage coming into the garage and water up to doorstep height.
“It’s not a huge problem, but with extensions to the school and new housing being built, we will be losing a lot of flood plain from the area next to the school’s playing field.
“A flooded house is devastating, so I think people will jump at the idea that this work will avoid future risks. Prevention is always better than a cure.”
Emma Staples from Anglian Water said: “This is a really important scheme to make the misery of flooding a distant memory for those customers nearby who have had to suffer it in the past.
“We have worked closely with the primary school to make sure our work schedule fits around them.
“We know this sort of construction work can be disruptive, and although the site is completely safe and cordoned off from students, we appreciate it may have been disruptive for those in the classroom. For this reason, working during the school week was not an option.
“This is part of a programme of millions of pounds of investment in the region’s sewer network and we appreciate the co-operation of residents whenever this kind of work is carried out.
“While on the school grounds, we will be working between 8am and 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays from 17 January until the end of March. During half term we will work normal hours, during the working week.”