NEW defences in Upton are set to open almost five years to the day after the riverside town was struck by devastating summer floods.

The new glass-topped flood wall on the Waterfront is now in place and the Environment Agency is working hard to finish the work that remains.

This should all be taken care of in time for the official opening ceremony, which will be taking place at 6.15pm on Friday, July 13, marking the anniversary of the events of 2007.

Back then the town was almost completely cut off for several days, with thousands of pounds of damage caused to dozens of homes and businesses.

But there are positive signs that scenes like those should now be a thing of the past, as the new flood wall has already passed a first, unscheduled test when it prevented properties from flooding as waters from the Severn spilled over last month.

Anthony Perry, area flood risk manager for the Environment Agency, said: “We are pleased that the flood defence in Upton is now complete and will help protect the community from the floods they have experienced many times before.

“We’d like to thank the community and businesses for their understanding during the disruption, and hope they can now enjoy the peace of mind having flood protection should bring.

We’d also like to thank Worcestershire County Council and Malvern Hills District Council for their support and assistance in delivering the scheme.”

While all major construction works on the waterfront are now complete, there are still jobs to be completed, including re-connecting street lights, repainting road markings and finishing off areas of paving. A stone bund in the water created during the work is now being removed by barge, rather than by road as originally planned.

The other element of Upton’s new defences, a flood bund to protect the New Street area, was officially opened by MP Harriett Baldwin last November and was also successfully called into action for the first time last month. In total the defences have cost about £4 million.