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Wisbech 2020 attracts international investment

Wisbech is set to pilot the worldwide debut of a revolutionary flood management scheme as part of an ambitious 12,000 home Wisbech Garden Town plan.

Wisbech2020 cheque

It was announced today (October 20) that Wisbech will be the first to benefit from an award-winning flood feasibility project developed by Dutch water experts at Royal HaskoningDHV.

The fifth annual Summit also saw the Dutch Government announce its support for the Wisbech pilot with a €55,000 grant from its Partners for Water programme, which funds innovative water projects around the world.

The news comes just four months after Fenland District Council and partners were awarded £6.5 million from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority to progress the Wisbech Garden Town proposal to its next stages of development.

The council developed the plan as part of the Wisbech 2020 Vision to help regenerate the town through growth of housing and economy. But with the proposed development being situated in a flood-prone zone, the authority turned to the Dutch to explore possible flood mitigation solutions.

Now Royal HaskoningDHV's scheme, called TRICO (Toolset for Rapid Interactive Collaborative Optioneering), will help the council to improve flood resilience and work with Anglian Water and other stakeholders to create a new, safe and sustainable residential area, as part of the Wisbech 2020 Vision initiative.

Cllr John Clark, Leader of Fenland District Council, said: "The smart technology involved in the flood management scheme reflects our ambition to create a forward thinking, resilient new community which will rejuvenate the area, providing essential new homes and a major boost to the economy. The contribution to the pilot from the Dutch government is testament to the interest and support that our garden town project is attracting."

Jaap Flikweert, Director of Water Governance and Strategy at Royal HaskoningDHV, said: "The Wisbech Garden Town proposal presents an extremely exciting but also extremely challenging opportunity for the area. Due to the town's location on the floodplain some exceptional and innovative approaches will need to be employed to ensure the development is safe and sustainable and gets consent. We're delighted to have the chance to implement our TRICO on such a nationally significant project."

"The Dutch Government's contribution will make an important difference to the pilot project. The magnitude of the flood management challenge is reflected in the close interest that will be paid to this pilot both regionally and nationally as the UK seeks ways to safely create new homes and communities and alleviate the national housing crisis."

Presenting the funding on behalf of the Dutch government, Matthijs Houët, Senior Commercial Attaché at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in London, said: "We're delighted to be able to support this fascinating and ambitious project.

"We Dutch have plenty of experience with the challenges of low lying land so it is interesting to see how Royal HaskoningDHV has been able to translate ideas and technology and adapt them to create a toolset for the UK context."

Article added October 20, 2017