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New Hope For Flood Hit Villagers In Charminster

Charminster Flooding

7:54am 9th January 2014

English Heritage says they'll work with residents and the Environment agency to improve an old Victorian bridge in Charminster if the right scheme is put forward.

The Grade 2 Listed structure has been blamed for flooding in the village after the river burst its banks.

Villagers who campaigned for the bridge to be modernised have accused the preservation group of refusing alterations. This week they've renewed their campaign for a change and have gained the support of West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin.

Planning and Conservation Director for English Heritage Andrew Vines told Wessex FM, they've always been open to bridge improvement ideas;

"The lead actually has to come locally either from the community or the environment agency, or both. We're happy to respond but we haven't had any contact on that line for the last 2 years. These recent floods have brought all this to a head but we're absolutely happy to engage on any scheme at any time."

"We're sympathetic to all those who've suffered flooding and of course we want a practical scheme to alleviate the flooding, but we're just saying, see what's the best all round option first before getting rid of the bridge."

Charminster resident Hugh Willis had his home flooded and is hopeful of a change, but he's not holding his breath;

"A body like English heritage isn't even a government body, they're answerable to know one. They do more or less what they think is right. I'm wondering whether or not they're realists."

Gwen Yarker had to leave her Charminster home due to flood water and is another resident angry with English Heritage;

"We've been working closely with the Environment Agency who've been desperately trying to find a scheme as a solution. But it was blocked by English Heritage's listing of a bridge that seems to take priority over a Grade 1 Listed church, Grade 2 Listed houses and other people's homes along this street."

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