A flood-hit Sunderland community will benefit from additional defences after the ward’s Labour councillor campaigned for greater measures to be put in place by the council.

Market Place in Houghton has twice been affected by floods in the last year, despite prevention work having been completed on the culvert in the town in 2020.

Now £30,000 worth of additional ‘property level protection’ (PLP) will be put in place, after heavy rain in February led to three of the significant risk properties being badly flooded internally. The PLP scheme will use the Environment Agency framework to ensure it is effective, and initial discussions have taken place with a partner who will make the improvements.

Following February’s flooding, local Labour councillor, Cllr Kevin Johnston said he would be demanding answers as to how the problem had been reoccurred despite the new measures that had been put in place.  Cllr Johnston’s intervention now means that the PLP will progress quickly, and provide additional reassurance to residents who have been impacted by flooding.

Kevin, who is standing for re-election in the Copt Hill ward having served as a councillor for the last five years, campaigned for flood defence works on the town’s Gravel Walks culvert which led to the original defences being brought forward in 2020.  At the time of the flooding in February, he said: “I’m absolutely furious to see this flooding has happened and people are having to go through this misery again after we finally secured funding for the flood defences work to be completed to prevent this.

“This should have been a test that the work carried out would stop this and it has failed.  I’ll be demanding a full investigation into why this has happened.”

The latest announcement is one that Cllr Johnston hopes will put an end to the misery of residents whose homes have been struck by flooding.

“This has been an ongoing issue and one that has been incredibly frustrating to see happen, after improvements were made that we believed would put flooding to an end in Market Place.

“I will be seeking reassurances that the latest improvements will bring an end to this issue once and for all.  I know just how devastating flooding can be, and I don’t want any more families to endure this again in the future.”

The culvert carries water flow from Houghton Burn to the junction of Gravel Walks, before falling back into the burn.  The new defences – which will see flood doors applied to the front and rear of the properties worst affected by flooding, non-return values on plumbing, and air vent shields to front and rear walls – are expected to prevent further damage to properties in the area with extra protection against flooding for the worst-affected homes.