Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Northcroft Stream blocked by FAS works

The delayed completion of works intended to protect central Newbury from 1-in-a-100 year extreme flood potential have temporarily restricted passage along the bottom section of Northcroft Stream.

The £2m Newbury Flood Alleviation Scheme (FAS) commenced in October 2012, and, as the EA currently reports, "The work was expected to be completed this spring but high groundwater levels locally and high flows in the River Kennet prevented us beginning some of the planned work until the spring. We now expect to finish on site in late summer 2013."

The access/portage point river left above the low-level pipe at the back of Island House and before Bewicks Reach cannot currently be accessed via Northcroft car park due to this area having been fenced of around a portacabin compound.

It will be interesting to see if improved access to the river has been provided once the compound is removed.

Paddling below this point would currently require exiting the river to the right almost immediately after the sluiced canal outflow by Dolton Mews as a barrage has been slung across the water course before the old slalom polls.

The new flood defence walls (and raised groundworks) at the back of Berwicks Reach are irrelevant to any thoughts of egress as these are private residence gardens.

The barrage before the old slalom polls (which now come with additional angling debris should you be thinking of playing here at a future date) on Northcroft Stream.

The barrage has been put in place to help protect the embankment enhancement wall currently being completed a little further downstream alongside Northcroft Lane between the Salvation Army Shop and the terrace of the Lock Stock & Barrel pub.  From the EA again: "We have installed a stone platform in the river near the Lock Stock and Barrel pub. This has been built to allow access for our machinery to construct a new river wall. The piled foundations for the wall are now complete and over the coming weeks we will be building the wall up to its full height."
The works platform has temporarily narrowed the Northcroft stream channel...
...but once the works have been completed the platform will be removed.
Any thoughts of slipping past the upstream barrage to shoot the remaining current channel might be tempered with the though of the further temporary bars to safe navigation.