Flood alleviation work to take place

A shopper runs through the flooding along Coventry Road in 2004
A shopper runs through the flooding along Coventry Road in 2004

Flood alleviation work will be carried out in a town centre street later this year in a bid to halt potential damage to shops and homes.

Coventry Road was singled out as the only street in town where flood improvements could be made following last July’s flash flood in Market Harborough.

An investigation into the flood, published in March, said Coventry Road could benefit from a better surface water sewerage network.

Anglian Water has agreed to install new larger-capacity sewers in the road.

An exact date or cost for the work has still not been confirmed but Anglian Water is due to hold a public exhibition about it next month.

A ‘trial hole’ will be dug in the road on Sunday, September 7, in preparation.

The road will be closed from 7am from its the junction with High Street to the entrance of the Commons car park.

The water company is working with the local authorities to finalise plans and aims finish it by spring next year.

Antony Innes, from Anglian Water, said: “This project is being designed to help alleviate the flooding problems experienced by businesses along Coventry Road in the past, and once complete will bring with it extra peace of mind for these customers.”

Of the trial hole, he added: “It’s part of the process to understand what other services are there and may need moving. It will help ensure the work – when it does start – goes as smoothly as possible.”

The news came to light this week after concerned companies contacted the Mail after seeing a road closure notice for Coventry Road lasting for many months.

But Mr Innes said the whole project will take a matter of weeks, not months, and explained that it is a procedural tactic to apply for long periods to cover all eventualities.

Flooding 10 years ago saw Coventry Road hit particularly hard, but a £2m, 439,000-gallon tank was built under the Commons car park in 2005 which helped reduce some of the problems.

Coventry Road businesses spoken to by the Mail were glad to hear of the extra protection for their firms but were wary of road closures.

Tim Thornton of TJ Thornton jewellers, said: “We’ve had a special door fitted, so last time the road flooded we were dry as a bone.

“For me, the problem is the disruption from this proposed work. It affects trade in the town as a whole.”

Richard Jeacock, of electrical goods firm RD Jeacock, said: “As long as they keep the footpath open and don’t close the road in the run-up to Christmas, then I’m not too worried.”