Action promised over Linen Green flooding chaos

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A government agency has promised action to prevent a repeat of the flooding misery that cost Dungannon businesses at the Linen Green tens of thousands of pounds in ruined stock.

Concerns have mounted that not enough was done to prevent the chaos which struck during Storm Desmond a fortnight ago.

Mid Ulster Council has passed a motion calling for an urgent meeting with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, demanding that the government body should clear all designated waterways in the Moygashel area.

The motion, proposed by the DUP’s Clement Cuthbertson also called for emergency funding to be extended to local businesses and domestic properties.

The action plan revealed by Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill includes daily checks of the grill, which was blocked by debris when the storm hit, until repairs can be made to the structure.

The Linen Green shopping complex is on the site of a historic mill. A designated watercourse known to Rivers Agency as the Park Lake Stream flows through the area and enters a culvert system in the grounds of a Transport NI (TNI) depot at Moygashel Road.

The inlet is protected by a metal grille to prevent debris entering the culvert system which passes through the Linen Green, before crossing the Moygashel Road and discharging to the River Rhone.

The Rivers Agency said it had removed debris from the grille on November 30 as part of its routine maintenance. However, rainfall and high winds from Storm Desmond caused debris to collect again and this obstructed the flow of water.

According to Minister O’Neill: “The blockage was removed as soon as possible on Sunday morning and this allowed the water to drain away. There are also undesignated watercourses within the site but these are not considered to have contributed to this flooding.

“It is planned that Rivers Agency personnel will inspect the grille daily during periods of heavy rainfall until repairs can be carried out to the structure. A detailed engineering assessment of the drainage infrastructure in the area is being carried out to determine what works could be implemented to reduce the flood risk.

“Rivers Agency will continue to Liaise with TNI and the management of the Linen Green site to validate Rivers Agency’s analysis of the cause and to ensure a viable solution is developed to reduce the flood risk in the future.

DUP MLA Maurice Morrow said it was plain to see that the grille needs urgent attention.

“I have been in contact with Rivers Agency regarding this very issue and I am aware that some work may have been carried out as recent as today (Friday).

“In the area there is also another water coarse known locally as the Mill Race, this is not designated and therefore the responsibility falls back to the landowners, one being the Mid Ulster District Council. I have already raised this at the Environment Committee and asked that our part is cleaned at the earliest.

“In relation to the DOE emergency flooding payments were a domestic property can be issued with a £1000 payment to ease the burden this does not cover businesses.

“I believe that this should be extended to cover such properties.”