These dramatic pictures showing Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough football ground four feet underwater after overnight floods devastated the city were taken nearly 10 years ago.

And at the historic ground on Thursday, residents and businesses will have a chance to have their say on an £83m investment programme which includes protecting the Upper Don, Sheaf and Porter valleys from flooding in the future.

Following the launch of the public consultation last month, Sheffield City Council is inviting people to have their say on the next phase of the project and says that proposals would aim to reduce the risk of flooding significantly.

At present, there is a 1 in 25 chance in any given year of parts of the city flooding from the Rivers Sheaf or Don.

With work on new flood defences already under way in the Lower Don Valley, people are now being asked for their views on how to best protect the city in efforts to prevent a repeat of the devastating Sheffield floods of 2007.

Picture courtesy of Sheffield Star/Steve Kiddy
Picture courtesy of Sheffield Star/Steve Kiddy

They can see proposals and talk to officers at Sheffield Wednesday’s Charlton Suite from 11am to 8pm on Thursday 25 August.

Cllr Bryan Lodge, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “Hillsborough was one of the worst-affected areas in the floods of 2007 and many businesses that operate there suffered terribly. We now have a great opportunity to deliver the flood protection a major European city like Sheffield deserves.

“Sheffield City Council is committed to protecting the city from flooding. As well as protecting the city’s homes and businesses, we want to find solutions that transform Sheffield’s waterways and even create future energy from them.

“Some of these options are sensitive, including the temporary flooding of ancient woodland and changes to some of the city’s parks which may include the removal of trees. But it’s worth stressing that these are only options, no decisions have been made, and it’s really important for people to have their say on how to protect the city from flooding in the future.”

The city council is working with the Environment Agency, businesses, flood and environmental groups across the city on one of the largest investment programmes in the country valued at £83million.

As well as aiming to protect around 6,000 homes and 1,760 businesses, it will also seek to protect prime brownfield land needed for new commercial and housing development, important city locations such as the railway station, vital utilities and transport routes including future transport schemes such as potential high speed rail (HS2) infrastructure.

The economic benefits of the programme include enabling development of 46 hectares of land and the potential for 15,000 new jobs. The programme will also enable the development of 27,000 new homes across the city.

Godwin Ekebuisi, Jim Fletcher and Bryan Lodge on the banks of the River Don
Godwin Ekebuisi, Jim Fletcher and Bryan Lodge on the banks of the River Don

The options being proposed by Sheffield City Council include:

  • Flood storage areas in open space such as parks and woodland in the flood plains that will temporarily store flood water and release it slowly after a severe storm. The areas would not often be used for this purpose, however, and can usually continue to be used for recreation and wildlife habitats for the majority of the time.
  • Keeping water in the river channels by building new flood defences.
  • Creating floodwater corridors by improving public spaces so floodwater can pass back to the river safely.
  • Opening up underground sections of rivers and making changes to rivers and weirs so that floodwater can pass through the city under more control
  • Rural land management on higher ground outside the city, such as tree planting and moorland restoration. This helps keep water in the upland areas to reduce flood levels during periods of high rainfall

Simon Newsum, who was affected by flooding and once chaired a Leppings Lane residents’ group, said: “We saw the devastating effect of flooding first hand when the Don burst its banks at Hillsborough nearly 10 years ago.

“There are some challenging decisions ahead to protect the city, its residents and businesses and I would urge people to attend the consultation to air their views.”

All consultation materials and information about flood protection can be found at www.floodprotectionsheffield.com

Consultation will continue for three months until 31 October 2016 during which time the council plans to go out into the communities so that people can drop in to a local venue and speak to us should they wish.

Picture courtesy of Sheffield Star/Steve Kiddy

Other consultation events for the public have been scheduled for

September 8, The Board Room, Sheffield United Football Club, 11am – 8pm
September 14, Millennium Hall, Ecclesall Road, 11am to 8pm.
September 21 Millhouses Methodist Church, Millhouses Lane, 11am – 8pm
September 29, Oughtibridge Chapel Hall, Church Street, 11am – 6.30 pm