Work on improving drainage in the village will start next month (April) and run through into the summer.
The work will improve safety by filling in the open ditch known as the Stewards House Drain in front of the Duke of Bedford School, but also provide a new culvert under the old A47 and widen ditches to take water away to the north towards the bypass.
Ed Johnson, operations engineer for the North Level District IDB, said the scheme had been under consideration for some time. “In 2009, we had three inches of rain fall on the village in two hours and that caused some problems with high water levels in the drain close to adjacent properties. This would prevent a similar risk in the future even with heavy rainfall like that.”
The Stewards House Drain is situated in the North Level Cross Guns Pump Catchment and it provides important drainage infrastructure to the village of Thorney flowing north under the park to come out on the old A47 near the entrance to the doctors’ surgery and then flowing east alongside the old A47 . The Stewards House Drain is approximately 1600 metres in length and provides drainage for both agricultural land and urban surface water run-off to approximately 300 houses. The flows in this drain are largely from agricultural and urban run-off and it is also assumed there is a small spring feed near the cemetery.
First stage is to culvert and fill in the drain in front of the school where there have been long-standing safety concerns about children falling into the open ditch. The Board hopes that work will start in April and should take a couple of weeks to complete. One lane of Wisbech Road will need to be closed, along with the footpath.
The rest of the plan involves putting a new, large culvert under the old A47 (now the B1167), just after the telephone exchange, which will run into a widened farm drain and carry water away to the north. This work is likely to take place in June and will involve closing the road for a period.
The open drain in front of the former council houses along Wisbech Road will be left as it is at present, although most water will be diverted through the new culvert. This section of drain will continue to receive annual maintenance from the Board.
“We’re not filling in that section because it will be useful as an overflow in times of high flow like the 2009 storm,” said Mr Johnson.
Work is being funded by a grant from government, contributions from the Thorney Parish Council and the school. The remainder of the costs will be financed by the Board.
Mr Johnson has apologised on behalf of the Board in advance for any delays or disturbance caused by these works.