THE flooding that took place in Dawlish Warren in December 2000, should be a thing of the past as a Teignbridge Council Flood Management Scheme costing almost £1million started work this Tuesday.

Teignbridge Council has been working to develop the Shutterton Brook Flood Management Scheme since 1999, prior to the flooding in December 2000 when Shutterton Brook flooded Hazelwood Park.

Cllr Gordon Hook, Teignbridge Council portfolio holder for the environment and environmental health said: 'A major part of the work to be undertaken involves raising the existing flood banks and the construction of a new culvert beneath Warren Road. It is likely that Warren Road will need to close temporarily in the New Year to enable this work to take place, however, it will be timed so as to cause minimum disruption to the public.

'I am optimistic that the works proposed, once completed, will significantly reduce the risk of a repeat flooding event on the scale we experienced in 2000.'

The remainder of the work involves strengthening the banks of the brook adjacent to Dawlish Sands Holiday Park and Hazelwood Holiday Park this winter and should not affect residents. Additionally, Teignbridge Council has worked with park owners to schedule works to cause minimum inconvenience to the local tourist trade.

Jean James, whose husband Gordon was towed to safety – see below – is delighted that work to control the flooding is finally under way.

'The floods caused everybody a lot of hassle and we were always living on edge wondering when it would happen again or whether the water would rise any higher,' she said.

'My husband and I are elated and we hope that the worry of flooding will now cease. As my neighbour Pam Rappo said, "we moved here to be near the sea, not in it".'

Cllr John Clatworthy added: 'I have been working for this scheme since the flood in 2000, and it is excellent that funding has been made available. Teignbridge executive accepted the recent tender, contractors are now on site, and shortly the fear of flooding will be removed.

'Teignbridge engineers are to be congratulated for bringing this to a conclusion.'

The contractor, South West Highways Ltd, Exeter, tendered for the contract sum of £878,000.

The work should take a total of 24 weeks to complete, with Warren Road closing for up to one week while culvert work takes place. There will also be temporary traffic lights in operation during the construction of the culvert.

Teignbridge Council is simultaneously working with local landowners to incorporate footpaths, cycle routes, and other environmental enhancements as part of its work. This includes the potential for a new cycle track between Exeter Road and Cockwood, with the ultimate aim of linking Exeter with Moretonhampstead, Lustleigh, Bovey Tracey, Newton Abbot, Teignmouth and Dawlish Warren. The cycle path is part of a wider project to open up the whole of south Devon to cycle users by 2008.