Plans submitted in bid to help reduce flooding and protect vital rail link to south west: Plans in Hele would reduce the risk of flooding

Thursday 16 Dec 2021

Plans submitted in bid to help reduce flooding and protect vital rail link to south west

Region & Route:
Wales & Western: Western

Network Rail has submitted a planning application to Mid Devon District Council to reduce the frequency and duration of flooding on the railway at Hele and help prevent a vital link to the South West being cut off.

The £7.2m scheme to replace two road bridges and reprofile the flood plain would mean fewer closures and less disruption for passengers and freight, as well as road users.

The proposals are part of a wider package of work to reduce flooding on the main railway line through Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.

The scheme involves:

  • Demolishing the current bridge at Station Road, Hele and replacing it with a viaduct, increasing the flow of water through the structure.
  • Building a new access bridge to Devon Valley Mill, subject to agreement with the mill owners

If planning consent is granted, work is due to start on site in the spring/summer of 2022. Station Road would need to be closed for approximately eight months while the new structures are built, with a diversion via Bradninch towards Cullompton and along the B3181.

Network Rail is working with the local bus company to make sure a suitable service is maintained and access will be provided through the worksite, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to continue to use the level crossing.

The proposals do not involve any work to the railway itself, so train services would continue to run throughout.

John Newland, Network Rail’s senior sponsor for the project, said: “We are working towards environmentally sustainable travel by providing a more resilient railway on this key part of the national rail network.

“As well as providing more reliable services for passengers and freight as we recover from the pandemic, the scheme will improve Station Road for users and generally cut the frequency and duration of flooding for businesses close to the level crossing in Hele.

“We have been engaging with the community to evaluate options and to review our flood modelling and we would like to thank them for their invaluable input. We are committed to getting this scheme right.

“We appreciate that if the work goes ahead, it will cause disruption for the people of Hele and Bradninch and we’ll do all we can to keep this to a minimum.”

Anyone who wishes to view or comment on the application should do so by visiting the planning section of Mid Devon District Council’s website at middevon.gov.uk.

More information on the proposals is available at networkrail.co.uk/hele

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