Environment

Great Shefford Flood Alleviation Association (GSFAA)
Background

Due to its location and topography, the village of Great Shefford has long suffered from floods. As well as causing damage these can also lead to road closures which, due to the village being on a junction, cause disruption to local residents, businesses and the wider community. None of the measures so far taken to combat this problem have been more than very localised or short-term fixes. Moreover, there’s nothing to suggest that, left unattended, the issue is not going to continue.

A more permanent outcome now seems possible. In 2017, the Great Shefford Flood Alleviation Association (GSFAA) was established with the aim of helping to co-ordinate, communicate and fundraise for a long-term solution. GSFFA, the Environment Agency and West Berkshire Council have proposed a scheme to help steer the water coming down the side of the A338 towards Shefford away from the rear of the houses. This could take the form of either a bypass channel or a large pipe from the existing headwall structure at the entrance to the village through the arable fields adjacent to the A338 which would direct the waterflow across the reed bed and into the River Lambourn. This would reduce the incidence of the often copious volumes of water flowing through residents’ gardens and some homes along the Wantage Road.

This scheme should be effective but will not be cheap. As is common, the EA has demanded that a certain part of the cost be provided by the local community as its contribution. After discussions, it’s been agreed that the GSFFA will need to raise £80,000 as its part of the funding. This will need to be in place before any flood alleviation work can begin.

GSFAA has now been granted charitable status which will help with many aspects of fund-raising and grant applications, now and in the future. This initial scheme, important though it is, will only address part of the problem and it’s expected that GSFFA will thereafter need to be involved in other flood-defence measures elsewhere in the parish.

Fundraising events

Finding such a sum will require a variety of fund-raising initiatives, some of which were discussed at a meeting of the GSFFA in January. The first public event was a fund-raising quiz in Shefford Village Hall on 10 March. This was highly successful with well over 100 people showing up and over £1,600 being raised.

A further quiz at The Swan in April raised another £570.Congratulations are due to all those involved, in particular to the two winners (Donna and Steve Folland’s team and Steve and Sandra Lodge’s team) for donating their prize money back to the GSFAA. A big hand also for Martin Smith who organised both quizzes and set the questions.

Other events will follow and will be publicised here and elsewhere. Current plans include a stag and hen party on Friday 18 May and a golf day on Friday 17 August.

Finances

As of 20 April 2018, the sums raised by the GSFAA total over £20,000. The three main sources have been a grant from Great Shefford Parish Council (£7,600), the quiz nights in March and April (£2,300) and a very generous anonymous donation (£10,000). This puts the GSFAA about 25% of the way to achieving its target. It’s hoped that the remaining sums will be raised in order to enable the work to start in the spring of 2019.

A crowdfunding page has also recently been set up – click here for more information and to make your donation.

Next meeting

The next meeting of the GSFAA is at 8pm on Thursday 14 June at Shefford School. All are welcome, particularly if you have any ideas for further fundraising events.

For further information

If you would like to suggest any fund-raising ideas, make a donation other than through the above link, find out more about the issues involved or get involved in GSFFA in any way, please contact Sandi Ackrill on 07831 750 000, Steve Ackrill on 07721 440 200  or email steve@ackrills.co.uk. Information can also be obtained from Ray in the Shefford Shop.

This post will be updated as new information becomes available.

GSFFA is grateful to Shefford C of E Primary School and to Great Shefford Village Hall for their generosity and support towards its cause and to Mr J Liddiard for his ongoing co-operation with the scheme.

 

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