RESIDENTS in Haydon Wick were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the diggers today as work began on a £5m flood alleviation scheme.
The area has been flooded three times in 10 years, including devastating floods in 2007, which left more than 50 families homeless.
Residents have been waiting for years for something to be done as the scheme has been delayed on a number of occasions.
Last year, the Environment Agency (EA) originally announced the plans, but they were put on hold when the cost of the proposals continued to rise and the EA was forced to ask Swindon Council for an additional £100,000.
It is hoped that the work, which is expected to cause disruption to some residents over a seven-month period, will be completed by spring next year.
A spokesman for the EA has moved to reassure those living within close proximity to Haydon Brook that they will do their best to keep disruption levels low.
He said: “Our contractor, Galliford Try, will work with residents to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum.
“Due to the nature of the works, we hope to only be in any one location for short periods of time. The flood alleviation scheme is planned to be complete during Spring 2013.
“Our local site team will make themselves known to residents and advise them in advance before works commencing at each property. “Due to the restricted access along the footpaths and bridleways, we will be installing temporary works to facilitate the use of heavy construction equipment. This work will cause some noise, vibration and disruption but this will be closely monitored and kept within reasonable limits.”
The construction will involve a new flood wall being built either side of the Haydon Brook through the housing estate, which will also extend along two of the tributaries – the Haydonleigh Drive Drain and Haydon Wick Ditch.
They will be made by driving steel piles into the ground and a concrete or brick wall will be built on top, but landscape architects have ensured the design will blend into the local area.
Coun Claire Ellis, (Con, Haydon Wick) said: “Following a number of delays, we are delighted that the Environment Agency is now in a position to commence the works that those living near the Haydon Brook are so keen to see completed.
“Inevitably, these works will cause some disruption but the benefits to residents at risk of flooding from the brook will be immense. We will work with residents to address any issues or concerns as best we can.”
Updates on the work will be posted to the Haydon Wick In Touch website which can be viewed at www.haydonwickintouch.com