Flood prevention project moves on to next phase

Esh has begun work on the next phase of a multi-million-pound flood prevention scheme in Chester-le-Street

Durham County Council has recently complete phase one of the £6.2 million project which has seen improvements made to the north end of Front Street and the existing ‘red carpet’ area of the market place refurbished with new seating and planting to enhance the area and create a community space.

The new space will now be home to the Chester-le-Street markets after the council secured two new operators to run the Friday and Saturday markets.

The markets will run from 9am to 4pm each week from Friday, 2 August, with local traders offering a variety of goods including local produce, handcrafts, cakes and bakes, street foods and collectables.

Now phase two of the scheme, being completed by Esh, will see a 90m stretch of the culvert which currently runs underneath the town’s Market Place, opened up to create an open channel. New footpaths and seating will be installed, and the area will be landscaped to provide a haven for wildlife and storage for flood water during severe storms.

Work to divert a sewer pipe at Cone Terrace has also started. The pipe which currently cuts through a section of the culvert will be relocated further downstream to increase the culverts capacity and to allow flood waters to freely travel downstream toward the River Wear.

Steve Conn, Divisional Director at Esh Civils, said: “The work is crucial to enhancing Durham’s flood prevention scheme in an area which has been prone to flooding in recent years. We are working closely with the Council to ensure there’s a reduction in flood risk to residential properties, non-residential properties, and infrastructure in Chester-le-Street town centre, with the enhanced ecology leading to public wellbeing. All work is being carried out with the least possible disruption for residents and local businesses and this phase is a major part of the development.”

The project is funded jointly by Durham County Council, the Environment Agency and the European Regional Development Fund.

We are making great progress and the work is on schedule to be completed on time in spring 2020. We would like to thank local businesses and residents for their continued support and patience during the works.”

Paul Wilkinson, Construction Programme and Project Manager at Durham County Council