A NEW flood-relief project, to reduce the risk of flooding to nearly 300 homes and businesses, has opened.

The £4.1 million flood storage area at Badsey Brook has been designed to reduce the risk of flooding to nearly 300 homes and businesses in Broadway, Childswickham and Murcot.

Nigel Huddleston MP for Mid-Worcestershire, Worcestershire County Councillor Liz Eyre who represents Broadway, and Tony Jones, retired chief engineer from Wychavon District Council, officially unveiled a plaque and buried a time capsule at the site last Thursday.

Broadway severely flooded in 2007 following record breaking rainfall across the area and the villages were again flooded in 2012.

The new flood storage area, sited at an 18 acre field in Broadway, will be able to hold up to 135,000 cubic metres of water during times of flood and will only allow a set amount of water to flow downstream at times of intense and high rainfall.

It is expected it will reduce flood risk to 57 properties in Broadway and 215 properties in Childswickham and Murcot.

The Environment Agency, Worcestershire County Council, Wychavon District Council, Broadway Parish Council and Childswickham Parish Council worked in partnership to secure over £2 million of government grant in aid funding towards the scheme. The Environment Agency’s English Severn and Wye Regional Flood and Coastal Committee also contributed £1.2million. Worcestershire County Council and Wychavon District Council and the local parishes contributed the remaining £900,000.

Detailed archaeological investigations, part funded by Worcestershire County Council, were carried out at the site during the preparation work that unearthed evidence of settlements dating back around 8,500 years. Finds included a beaker dating from around 2,000 BC and skeletons of a mother and baby.

Daniel Wilkinson, from the Environment Agency, said: “Flooding has a devastating impact on the lives of people and communities that are affected.

"It’s brilliant that by working with our partners we have found a solution that is designed to greatly reduce the risk of flooding for residents living in Broadway, Childswickham and Murcot.”

Nigel Huddleston MP said: “I am delighted that after so much hard work the Badsey Brook scheme is being officially opened.

"Broadway and Childswickham in my constituency suffered terrible flooding in 2007 and 2012, so it is a huge relief to see substantive action taken to avoid this happening again."

Barrie Parmenter, Broadway Parish Council chairman, added: “This now means that hundreds of families will no longer live in fear of flooding when severe weather reports are issued for the district."