New Update: Holders Lane Playing Field Construction Work for Flood Defences



Update 29/07/2022: The drop-in session is now planned for the 12th of September between 4pm and 7pm. Residents should receive a letter about this.


Update 25/06/22: the consultation event on the 27th of July has been postponed due to delays in the project. We will post the new date when it is available.

The Environment Agency are planning to put in flood defences on Holders Lane Playing Field as part of the First Avenue flood management scheme. There will be disruption, particularly to residents on roads adjacent to the fields but also to users of the fields. Unfortunately the many residents were not aware of what was planned so we asked for some feedback from them which is reproduced below. We also have the last published details of the planned defences from November 2021 which can be found here and a Q&A also from November 2021 which can be found here


Hi Chris,


Thank you for your email, we became aware of some unhappy residents in Wallace Road last week and we have been communicating with the Cllrs regarding this, although I suspect the messages have not been fed back as yet.

I can only apologise to anyone who feels they have had no communication or who were unaware of the scheme. Last November we invited residents to two virtual drop in events for the First Avenue flood risk management scheme. This invite also went out to numerous local community and environmental groups as well as a Royal Mail posted letter to all properties along the northern, western and southern edge of Pebble Mill playing fields. This included all properties along Wallace Road. Whilst the drop in events were well attended we have subsequently had feedback from residents that they did not receive an invite. The invites would have been in plain white envelopes addressed ‘To the Occupier’ so may have been missed, or there was an error in delivery which the EA were not made aware of. In light of the feedback from residents we have changed our approach to engagement in the area and future invites will be hand delivered to particular areas such as Wallace Road.

Since the November drop in we have continued direct local engagement and at their request met with two residents of Wallace Road on Thursday 19th May.

I understand some of the concerns and will try to address those here. There are no plans to use Wallace Road as storage for site equipment. Wallace Road is the primary consideration to enable construction access to the playing fields due to the historic access gates present. Whilst this access hasn’t been used for many years, it provides the least disruption to residents out of the options available. The current gates and railings would be removed and reinstated after works completed, and we would welcome local input on what residents would like to see as part of the reinstatement. There would be the impact of construction traffic which may limit parking availability at the entrance to Wallace Road where spaces are not available off the main carriageway. Before use of any access road takes place a condition assessment of the road would be undertaken and the EA would liaise with Birmingham City Council as the highway owner around any potential repairs once construction has finished.

With regards to how the proposed embankment may impact flood flows, it will not re-direct water to the south or west of the playing fields. It’s primary purpose will be to deflect flows heading north and north-west eastward back into the River Rea. Combined with the weir removal work the EA have been undertaking, this will result in lower flood levels within the playing fields on a like-for-like flood event comparison.

Some residents noticed individuals on site conducting a survey but when they questioned them about this the individuals said there did not know the reason for the survey. These were likely employees of one of the EA’s sub-contractors undertaking a topographical survey and indeed may have not known the need for the survey. Regardless they could have offered to find out and provide direct contact to the EA should a member of the public be interested. We will raise this with our contractors to combat this happening in future.

The next consultation on the final design will be in person at Christ Church on 27 July 2022 between 4 and 7pm. All residents will receive a posted letter and residents in key roads such as Wallace Road will have a leaflet about the planned drop in session hand delivered. As well as this all local community groups will be given all the information. Construction is currently planned for Spring 2023 for a duration of 8 months.

A lot of the project team are on annual leave this week and next so I am planning a leaflet drop for Wallace Road on Monday 13 June. We will be available between around 10 and 2 for people to speak to us. Please feel free to pass my email address to anyone who still has concerns and I can arrange to meet with them on the 13 June.

Please come back to me with any other questions and I will endeavour to answer them. Again please accept my apologies.

Kind regards

Cathy

Cathy Kompfner (MCIWEM) Flood Risk Advisor, Partnership and Strategic Overview, West Midlands Environment Agency | Units 10 & 11, Greyfriars Industrial Estate, Frank Foley Way, Stafford, ST16 2ST

cathy.kompfner@environment-agency.gov.uk