Talks underway for multi-million pound flood defence scheme in Looe
A MULTI-MILLION pound flood defence scheme that would transform the face of Looe is being drawn up by town leaders.
The radical scheme could see a new harbour being built in Hannafore, West Looe, in a bid to put an end to the devastating floods which have plagued residents and businesses for decades.
Armand Toms, Cornwall councillor for East Looe, said: "I've been in talks with the Environment Agency and we have the possibility of getting some substantial funding from them to look into an outer harbour project.
"Flooding has been a huge problem in Looe as far back as I can remember – and I've been here a long time.
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"It's the most flooded place in the South West and it's a problem we have to solve."
Mr Toms said the idea of building an outer harbour was first considered by the town's leaders in 1987 and examined again in 2001.
In both instances feasibility studies had been carried out but the proposals never got off the ground.
"The plans drawn up in 2001 included a scheme to build a road into the back of Hannafore," Mr Toms said.
"It would not only give an added benefit to fishermen and those who use the harbour, but also add value to the town with an alternative route to Hannafore."
Mr Toms said the previous studies were being re-examined and all options would be explored.
"It's in the very early stages and we're looking at all the options," he said. "It's going to be a lot of work.
"The meetings we've had with the town's organisations have been very positive so far.
"They're committed to coming up with a solution.
"Now we're trying to see what funding is available."
Mr Toms warned the outer harbour project could take years to complete and while the options were being weighed up a mid-term flood plan was also being drawn up by the town council.
"We can solve some of the problems by forming a flood plan to make sure the drains are cleared and the town is prepared," Mr Toms said.
This would include keeping sandbags in accessible places and nominating designated persons to warn residents and businesses when flood alerts were issued.
The town council's environment and public protection committee will discuss the plan at a meeting at the Guildhall on Monday at 7pm, which members of the public can attend.
With regard to the long-term flood defence scheme, Mr Toms said he wanted the entire town to come together to identify an effective solution.
"It's something that is going to be quite exceptional, and we're taking the whole town with us," he said.
"We want to make sure everyone has their say. We've got to make sure everybody's on board."