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Friday, 21 November 2014

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Town takes the knocks but keeps coming back

EGREMONT is having more than its share of bad luck just now – and that’s an under-statement.

The collapse of another old mine shaft, forcing eight families from their homes, follows hard on the heels of serious flooding which saw homes evacuated in various parts of the town.

And we were all horrified in the summer by the River Ehen house collapse.

All this in a town so tragically touched by the loss of the much-loved PC Bill Barker on the Northside Bridge at Workington.

It is now less than three months since the dramatic Mill House accident caused by the ‘holed’ Hartley’s Weir. This week fears have been voiced that the temporary Environment Agency measures used to try and control the water flow might not be strong enough to prevent another breach.

Residents of Vale View are concerned that, with winter coming on, another big flood could wash through the “temporary” defences and seriously weaken the busy road bridge spanning that section of the river.

The worst fear (beside the threat of more damage to the foundation of the Vale View terraced homes) is further ‘scouring’ endangering Old Bridge, at best seriously weakening the structure or, at worst, causing another collapse putting traffic and lives at risk.

The Highways Authority recently carried out bridge strengthening work and the Environment Agency insists that the temporary river defences “maintain the level of flood protection that existed prior to the building collapse and will be in place until a permanent solution is implemented”.

This is not all that reassuring, perhaps, but we can be certain that Egremothians are resilient folk and that community spirit will shine through once again to overcome prevailing adversity.

If anyone is any doubt, turn up on December 2 and see how one of Copeland’s main towns celebrate a big event – its Christmas lights switch on. The enterprising Egremont Amenity Group has raised £125,000 in a short time to pay for the lights and future festive events. Now that is proof of self-help at its best.

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