'Victory' for Blackpool
“This is a victory for the people of Blackpool, we get to keep our river!”
The words of Cork City North West Green Party representative Louise Jordan after the Blackpool-based Save Our Bride Otters community group received the news about its fight against the Blackpool Flood Relief Scheme.
This week, the State conceded there was insufficient public consultation undertaken in its bid to gain permission to proceed with the controversial flood relief scheme.
The news came as Save Our Bride Otters sought a judicial review of the decision by the Minister of Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath to grant permission to the Office of Public Works (OPW) to proceed with the Blackpool Flood Relief Scheme.
The proposed scheme consists of flood defence walls and embankments, the removal and replacement of historic bridges, the construction of a large trash screen in the middle of a small amenity park and the culverting of the 350m stretch of the River Bride in Blackpool Village.
“Hopefully this is at least the beginning of the end of the Office of Public Works' love affair with concrete. There are better and cheaper ways of preventing flooding than entombing all our rivers in concrete. Well done to all of those on the Save Our Bride Otters team, and all of those who supported us,” said Ms Jordan.
The Save Our Bride Otters community group regards the River Bride as a busy and biodiverse nature corridor.
A statement from the group read: “It has unquantifiable value to the people of Blackpool, an area already lacking in green space. Culverting is a brutal and outdated practice that commenced in Blackpool in the 1800s. Over a kilometre of the Bride and Glen Rivers are already buried under the roads between Blackpool and the River Lee.”
The statement added: “The proposed scheme would have left a village that was built on the banks of a river, without a river. Save Our Bride Otters had no option but to challenge the minister's decision. We want the best flooding solution for Blackpool, a solution that not only protects Blackpool Village but enhances it. This is what the village deserves.”