Flood-prone Hexham’s river defence scheme has provided environmental and community benefits in a historically sensitive area. The project protects some 254 properties, including listed buildings, ancient monuments and sites of archaeological interest, to a 1-in-200 year standard of flood defence.
The three-year scheme cleverly combines work to increase capacity, divert and attenuate flow, and incorporates a series of new screens to prevent debris clogging the system. It also re-uses a derelict reservoir for a coarse fishery, stocked with over 7,000 fish, angling pegs, a public amenity site, and a floodwater storage area. Recycled materials were widely used to minimise environmental impact.
The design is sensitive to the conservation area, using stone facing and cobbles and hiding much of the work underground. The ‘Totem Pole’ debris bollards and trash screens were designed and built by an architectural blacksmith. Several artists contributed to the project and an in-channel art feature enhances the streetscape.
"A sympathetic solution – skilfully integrated into the landscape."