A £2 million investment in four sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) in Sheffield passed the test of the November downpours that deluged the city.
The projects at Manor, Fir Vale and Parson Cross coped well with the huge amounts of rain which fell over several days.
They are designed to remove 90,000 cubic metres of run off rainwater from the city’s sewers in an average year – the equivalent of nearly 10 million toilet flushes, 2.5 million showers or 1.25 million loads of washing.
As well as improving the capacity of the sewage system to deal with storms by redirecting flow to the watercourses, the schemes also remove pollutants from the water which drains into them, before it flows, at a controlled rate, into local streams, brooks and rivers. In addition, they are creating wildlife habitats for community enjoyment.
The initiative has been jointly funded by Sheffield Housing Company and the city council in connection with the construction of over 1,000 new homes.
Roger Nowell, Lead SUDS Officer with Sheffield City Council, said: “The November flooding provides a stark reminder of why we need these schemes as we develop our city. Slowing the flow wherever we can, accumulatively contribute to reducing vulnerability of residents, businesses and critical infrastructure from flooding downstream.”
Schemes funded by the housing company are at Parson Cross Park, adjacent to the Brearley Forge development, where three basins have been created – one of which is always marshland – with the other two flooding only in wetter weather and providing informal recreation and wildlife space during drier spells.
Below the new Birchlands development, on Earl Marshal Road in Fir Vale, a Pocket Park has been adapted to take surface water to the Bagley Dike watercourse, which lies underground. Wasteland has become wetland with associated wildlife.
At Manor Top, the open space has been considerably modified to create a series of wetland and rock channel features and a floodable recreational grass space. An underground stream has been brought to the surface, creating a number of water flow rock features and a pond. In addition, an innovative swale, running beside the new road system, takes run off water and directs it to the basins below.
A fourth project was initially funded by the council but with costs to be recovered from housing developers – including SHC – building at Lower Manor, around Harborough Avenue. This biodiverse wetland area at the Pipworth Recreation Ground will manage surface water from the sites, whilst supporting amphibian and bird life.
SHC is Sheffield City Council’s joint venture development company, established with private sector construction partner Keepmoat Homes and Great Places Housing Group. Its goal is to improve the quality and choice of housing across the city, while creating jobs, encouraging investment and supporting communities.
John Clephan, Project Director, said: “SHC developments are thoughtfully designed to reduce any negative impact on the natural environment around them and where possible, enhance it. We are creating places that will be part of Sheffield for many decades to come and climate change will increasingly impact on all of our lives. It is therefore very important that we are part of the solution for how to adapt to a changing climate, rather than contributing to the issues that it creates.
“These projects show how the building of new housing is able to create improved green space for residents and wildlife, and at the same time ease the strain on the city’s drainage system.”
Since it commenced building six years ago SHC has completed 850 homes – around 80% of which have been sold to first time buyers and families. It has created 82 apprenticeships, 640 new jobs.
Looking ahead, the aim is to build up to 2,300 two to six bedroomed properties on 26 sites across the city by 2025 – delivering further economic stimulation, job creation and community investment.