HUNDREDS of homes and businesses in Bewdley are set to be better protected after plans for new permanent flood defences were approved. 

The Environment Agency was given the green light to build the much-needed scheme at Beales Corner - with the main construction work set to start in July 2023. 

Wyre Forest District Council approved plans for the scheme at the planning committee meeting earlier this week. 

Once constructed, it will benefit hundreds of householders and businesses in the town from the impacts of flooding. 

Beales Corner is subject to significant flooding from the River Severn and has a long history of flooding. Most recently in 2020, 2021 and 2022 where homes and businesses were flooded, and the wider community impacted. 

After the flooding in 2020 funding was made available by the government for impacted communities, enabling the Environment Agency to consider a flood risk management scheme for the Beales Corner area of Bewdley and keep the main Kidderminster and Stourport roads into the town open at times of flood.  

The project will replace the low-level temporary flood barriers currently used and will provide a far higher standard of flood protection. 

Environment Agency operations manager for the West Midlands Anthony Perry said: “We are delighted to have been granted planning permission to build this much-needed flood risk management scheme for Beales Corner and look forward to getting started on the construction. Flooding can be devastating, and this scheme will help to significantly reduce the risk of flooding to the town.

 “I would like to thank many public bodies, utility companies, local Councillors, politicians and the local community for all pulling together and working with us on this much needed scheme. It will enhance Bewdley and improve many people’s lives for generations ahead. It is heart-warming the way that everyone has pulled together to help with it.” 

Kidderminster Shuttle: Temporary flood barriers holding back flood water at Beales Corner earlier this yearTemporary flood barriers holding back flood water at Beales Corner earlier this year (Image: Environment Agency)

Floods Minister Rebecca Pow said: “Flooding can be a traumatic experience – and it’s something that residents and businesses in Bewdley have endured far too often over the past few years. I have witnessed this for myself on a number of occasions. 

“This is a positive step which should help give the community some comfort about their town’s resilience. It forms part of our record investment on flooding, building on our previous £2.6 billion funding which better protected more than 314,000 homes across England.” 

Work is due to start on the main construction of the scheme in July and some preparation work is already underway as vegetation is being removed alongside the river and utilities infrastructure is being moved. 

Councillor Rod Stanczyszyn, mayor of Bewdley, said: “The residents of Bewdley have been asking for a permanent flood barrier at Beale’s Corner for many years. Ever since the dramatic and unexpected failure of the temporary “pallet” barrier in January 2021, it has been obvious that this type is completely inadequate. 

“Bewdley Town Council are now delighted that the Environment Agency, after many consultations with partners and residents, have finalised plans for a wall and glass panel barrier. The council fully supports this application.”