A community once devastated by floods is carrying out major work to repair special dams installed to prevent homes being swamped.

In Brompton, near Northallerton, 169 homes were flooded in 2000 as the village beck burst its banks. The incident caused huge damage, and many residents could not return for more than six months.

Work was carried out through a specially formed flood prevention group to create leaky dams above the village, using natural woody materials laid in streams and ditches to slow down the flow of water. But the dams have fallen into disrepair.  As more bad weather is forecast, amid widespread reports of flooding elsewhere, work paid for by Brompton Town Council is now taking place on farmland to carry out substantial repairs.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Repairs of leaky dams to stop Brompton flooding

Contractors, Coxons Ltd of Exelby say they hope to have the works completed very shortly to protect the community.  A spokesperson for the town council said further flooding has occurred over the years and Brompton has been narrowly saved thanks to the leaky dams.  A hydrology surveyor had carried out computer modelling to find the best places to site them. With permission from local farmers, the Internal Drainage Board and the Environment Agency, Coxons had built them originally to withstand the torrents of water that come down Ings Beck and Brompton Beck.

The council spokesperson added: “However mainly due to water pressure they have required substantial repair for some time and funding has been a major problem. Brompton Council is now funding the works from its own budget after putting monies aside.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Brompton leaky dams are repaired

“The Environment Agency constructed an overflow channel at the first road bridge to divert overflow flood water to the rear of the primary school. Over the years this grew over, flattened out and became of little use.

“The EA advised Brompton Council in 2022 it did not have the funds to dig the channel out so Brompton Town Council also paid for these works.

"Currently the eight leaky dams protect Brompton and areas such as Northallerton down-stream but due to high maintenance costs these had in part fallen into disrepair and were not affording full protection.

"In the past torrents would have been coming through the Ford at north end the water going up a foot every 10 minutes and the leaky dams prevent this. The Flood Group used the last of its money to repair one side of a leaky dam in 2020.

"In 2022 further severe storms occurred which resulted in properties being saved from flooding along Water End by mere inches with the dams again serving their purpose.

"The trauma caused by being flooded never goes away and once flooded you may be susceptible to future flooding. Not only is the economy affected, but residents’ mental health and well-being also. Livelihoods can be ruined and once flooded insurance can be difficult and potentially expensive, Brompton Council has considered alleviation of flooding to be its number one priority."