Artist impression of the finished project, via Network Rail

Hele flooding resilience works get green light from council

The Mid-Devon Council has given official approval to Network Rail’s plans to implement the requisite reinforcing needed to reduce the frequency and duration of flooding on the railway at Hele.

The £7.2m scheme will see the replacement of two road bridges and reprofiling works for the floodplain, which will combine to strengthen flood resilience, thus leading to fewer closures and less disruption for passengers and freight travel.

These future-proofing works come as a fragment of a wider package investment to help reduce flooding across the main railway line that travels through Somerset, Devon, and Cornwall.

The scheme involves:

  • Demolishing the current bridge at Station Road, Hele, and replacing it with a viaduct, increasing the flow of water through the structure.
  • Building a new access bridge to Devon Valley Mill, subject to agreement with the mill owners.
  • Reprofiling of the floodplain to further reduce flooding risk to the highway and railway.
  • Local flood mitigation at Hele Square, subject to agreement with affected residents.

Under current estimated time frames for works, Network Rail are hoping to break ground on construction in late Spring 2023. This will mean disruptions for the local area as Station Road will need to be closed for approximately eight months while the works are taking place, seeing a diversionary route through Bradninch towards Cullompton and along the B3181, subject to county council consent.

John Newland, Network Rail’s senior sponsor for the project, said:

“We are pleased that Mid-Devon District Council has approved our plans, which will help to provide a more resilient railway on this key part of the national rail network.

“Since submitting our planning application, we have been carrying out further land and drainage surveys, refining the designs for the structures and putting a plan in place to make sure the project leaves a net gain for biodiversity

“As well as providing more reliable services for passengers and freight, the scheme will improve Station Road for users and generally cut the frequency and duration of flooding for businesses close to the level crossing in Hele.

“We appreciate that the work over several months will cause disruption for the people of Hele and Bradninch and we’ll do all we can to keep this to a minimum, including providing a suitable shuttle bus service during the road closure.

“We’ll be keeping the community updated as our plans progress and our programme is finalised.”

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