WORK has started on a new £1.15m surface water drainage system which is aimed at helping to reduce flooding in Corbridge.

Funded by flood recovery cash allocated to Northumberland County Council following Storm Desmond in December 2015, the project was identified as a priority after the extent of the damage to the highway drainage system in the Stanners, Station Road and Tinklers Bank area became clear.

The four-month scheme will see a new highway drainage system built along Station Road and a new outfall will run through Tynedale Rugby Club, replacing the existing culvert which was badly damaged during the deluge.

The works have been made possible by Tynedale Rugby Club allowing the council to take a new 1200mm pipe through the length of Tynedale Park, with a new outfall into the River Tyne at the east end of the ground.

Disruption to rugby, junior football and tennis activities at Tynedale Park is unavoidable, but officials at the rugby club are keen to stress that it’s a small price to pay.

Chief executive at Tynedale Rugby Club, Neil Foster, said: “As the project progresses, it will have an impact on most of the sports which take place here as they work on a strip of land towards the east end of the ground.

“The club was badly affected by flooding last year, but that seems insignificant compared to the impact on local residents, many of whom were evacuated from their homes at the height of the flood.

“Hopefully, this new surface water drainage system will reduce the risk of future surface water flooding, particularly in Station Road, where flooding has historically been a problem.”

The new pipe is not directly related to Environment Agency flood defences along the river, but the work is being undertaken by the county council, with funding support from the Department for Transport.

It is expected to address highway drainage issues in this area and prevent surface water from rising and posing a risk to homes owned by residents who have formed the Corbridge Flood Action Group.

The pipe itself is expected to have a capacity of around 3500 cubic metres with a new outlet into the river.

Coun. Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services at the county council, said: “This major piece of work will help protect Corbridge in the future.

“We will be working closely with the ground staff at Tynedale Park to try and minimise disruption as much as possible.”

* A planning application is expected to be required for future work to widen the entrance to the rugby club to improve traffic flow and public car parking provision.