Plans to build flood storage basin on children’s play area in town center park

A park’s children’s play area is set to be used as a flood overflow area with a ‘storage basin’ created to divert rising water from nearly 300 homes and businesses. Horwich town center has a ‘long and repeated history of flooding’ from Pearl Brook, occurring in 1946, 1951, 1964, 1992, 2002, 2004 (three times) and 2012.

Flooding most recently hit the area on Boxing Day 2015, when several properties were affected in Back Emmett Street. Other affected areas from Pearl Brook breaking its banks include Winter Hey Lane and Mason Street areas. Plans will go before councilors later this week to use Old Station Park, in St John Street, as a flood overflow area.

The proposals also include relocating the current children’s play area elsewhere in the park and refurbishing a multi-use games area, which was previously used as a contractors’ compound for during the construction of the new leisure centre.

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Several mature trees will also be lost if the project is approved with council officers stating that there could be ‘biodiversity net loss’. In planning application documents, the Environment Agency said the solution includes throttling storms flows in Pearl Brook and providing flood storage in the park.

The storage basin would be formed by extending existing embankments around the perimeter of the park on the western side of Pearl Brook. The basin will be designed to keep the recreational use of the park.

A planning statement said: “The primary cause of flooding is the low capacity of the culverts in the vicinity of Chorley New Road and the open river channel immediately upstream. Flood water spills from Pearl Brook into the center of Horwich via Back Emmett Street.

“Modelling indicates that this can occur during a one in five-year return period storm and the model demonstrates that with no flood risk management improvements, the regularity and impact of flooding to properties in the center of Horwich will increase as a consequence of climate change. . 212 residential properties are at risk of flooding together with a further 72 non-residential properties.”

Should the plans be approved the main entrance into the park from St John Street will remain and the path into the center of the park will pass through a gap in the embankment. A self-closing flood barrier will be installed that will automatically rise when the park is required for flood storage.

A new crest level footpath will be built allowing visitors to walk around the perimeter of the storage basin. The footbridge over Pearl Brook on the eastern side of the park will be retained, however, the existing structure will be removed and the new crossing will be incorporated into the proposed control chamber structure.

The other existing footpaths into the park will be retained.
Councilors on Bolton planning committee are set to decide on the plans on Thursday, April 14.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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