SRA Annual Report 2019-20: Yeovil urban SuDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems) study

In South Somerset, the Yeovil Urban SuDS Study has been investigating how surface water flooding ‘hotspots’ around the town could be tackled through the use of SuDS.

As with other activities in this Urban Water Management workstream, a guiding principle is that carefully placed and well-designed SuDS can also offer local people recreational and educational opportunities, and benefit wildlife and the environment.

The study is being delivered for the SRA by Somerset County Council, using Yeovil Rivers Community Trust (YRCT) as contractors.

Surface water road flooding at Milford dip in Yeovil.

The Trust has been surveying parts of Yeovil to check on the ground whether areas marked on Environment Agency flood risk maps are indeed prone to surface water and sewer flooding.

Findings have also been cross-checked against the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (Level 1) commissioned by South Somerset District Council and Somerset West and Taunton Council in 2019.

Potential locations for SuDS

Several locations have been identified where SuDS could potentially address surface water flooding problems and provide other benefits. The highest priority areas are:

  • Town Centre (Quedam, Cattle Market, Glovers Walk, Yeo Leisure Park, Old Station Road/Beefeater/Premier Inn/Wilko/ Tanyard View)
  • Horsey Lane, Millbrook, Police Station site, West Hendford
  • Pen Mill Trading Estate, Fiveways School, Pen Mill Railway Station, Camborne Grove/Camborne Street
  • Milford Valley, Elizabeth Flats
  • Westfield Estate (Westfield Road/Westfield Grove/Westfield Recreation Ground) and Westfield Academy
  • Lynx Trading Estate

Milford Valley has significant open space. Smaller green spaces are at Westfield Recreation Ground, Westfield Academy, Birchfield, Fiveways School and around Yeovil College. Ideas for larger SuDS features at these sites are being considered.

Elsewhere the focus is on possibly retro-fitting SuDS measures such as rainwater harvesting, green roofs, rain gardens, permeable surfaces, and small ponds. As well as reducing flood risks, such features would help to increase Yeovil’s  resilience to climate change and make the town more attractive.

Promising opportunities currently exist in Yeovil because of plans for redevelopments at several key locations, for example the cattle market, Glovers Walk, and the police station site.

Proposals for some top priority sites have been developed into outline designs.

Next steps

More work will be done in 2020-21, particularly on continued engagement with partners including Wessex Water, South Somerset District Council, Yeovil Town Council, Yarlington Housing Group, landowners and managers, and on raising public awareness of flooding and climate change issues around Yeovil.

In its Enhanced Programme for 2020-21, the SRA is also funding the production of an overarching Surface Water Management Plan for Yeovil. The Yeovil Urban SuDs Study will feed into that long-term action Plan. The Plan will enable much stronger bids to be made for national Flood Defence Grant In Aid payments for tackling specific problems.

The SRA and its partners want Yeovil to enjoy a more comprehensive, efficient and cost-effective approach to surface water management.
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