Flood-hit river wall collapse fear

Mark McLoughlin from Wigan is concerned about the safety of a retaining wall on the River Douglas near Pottery Road, after several large cracks and holes appeared after the Christmas floods
Mark McLoughlin from Wigan is concerned about the safety of a retaining wall on the River Douglas near Pottery Road, after several large cracks and holes appeared after the Christmas floods
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WIGAN residents have called for urgent repairs to be carried out on a river bank wall amid fears of new flooding.

Mark McLoughlin lives in Eleanor Street near to Wigan Pier, which was under water when the River Douglas burst its banks on Boxing Day. He says he reported cracks in the wall along Southgate to the Environment Agency last month. But so far it has not been repaired and he is worried that time is running out.

He said: “The river wall does not look safe and if we keep having high river levels the wall could collapse. If this happens Today’s Community Church and all the surrounding area will be under water.

“I reported the cracks in the wall on December 27 and nothing has been done.”

Coun Mike Dewhurst said: “It is obvious that the flooding had been extensive, and small parts of Eleanor Street and some of the businesses on Robin Park had been affected.

“We have seen the damage to the retaining walls and a large crack had appeared along with other damage.

“We did report this to Wigan Council although I feel that it was the Environment Agency who are directly responsible for maintenance of this, but as of yet I am waiting for a reply.”

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said it was working with Wigan Council to assess who owns the wall.

She said: “The wall is not used for flood defence purposes by the Environment Agency and is the responsibility of the landowner to maintain and repair. As it is unclear who the landowner is, the Environment Agency will work with the council to decide the best course of action.”

The spokesman added that officers from the Environment Agency has erected a temporary flood defence following the heavy rainfall last month. To date, more than 8m cubed of flood water pumped off nearby Croston Moss (equivalent to 3,246 Olympic swimming pools) and more than 1,000 tonne bags have filled the breach.

The spokesman added: “The Environment Agency has been working with external contractors to repair a breach on the River Douglas as a result of record-breaking rainfall. Work has been ongoing to ensure a temporary structure will allow the permanent works to fix the breach to be completed.

“Further heavy rain in early January caused damage to the temporary defence. Currently, no properties are at risk of flooding and we are confident the temporary structure will continue to hold until the permanent works have been finalised.

“We are continuing to monitor water levels on the River Douglas, upstream of the breach and have temporary procedures in place to provide adequate forecasting and warning to both residents and partners if action is required.”

To check flood risk and keep up to date with the latest situation, visit www.gov.uk/check-if-youre-at-risk-of-flooding, call Floodline on 0345 988 1188 or follow @EnvAgencyNW and #floodaware on Twitter.