RIVER walls aimed at preventing floods in Blackburn town centre are in desperate need of repair, according to the Environment Agency.

Agency bosses want to replace the walls surr-ounding the River Blakewater, which flows underneath the town centre.


The project manager in charge of the proposal said the walls as they stood risked collapse during high water which could prove fatal.

Plans have been submitted to carry out work on the walls of the river from the culvert by Blackburn Youth Zone in George Street to the outlet by the ambulance station in George Street West.

Project manager for the Environment Agency Robert Carr said: “Across the full river reach, the current flood walls vary in condition and height.

“The Environment Agency scheme looks to replace these walls to a consistent height that protects the area to a 1-in-100 year standard of defence.

“The proposed solution is to remove existing walls and replace with a reinforced concrete wall.

“Due to the current poor conditions, some of the current flood walls are in a dangerously poor condition and risk sudden collapse during high water.

“Sudden collapse could lead to loss of life and rapid onset of flooding if occur-ring under a high river level.

“This scheme will address this risk as well as provide a massive opportunity for regeneration in this area.”

The 1.2km stretch of water also flows beneath Freckleton Street, Byrom Street, Darwen Street and Whalley Banks.

According to information submitted by the Environment Agency, the river walls protect 100 commercial and 66 residential properties from flooding and also act as a barrier between the river and a large number of buildings.

As part of the £28million Cathedral Quarter work in the town centre, a stretch of the river culvert near Dandy Walk had its walls and roof strengthened earlier this year.