Flooding and traffic chaos at Kenilworth ford could be a thing of the past after the town was asked to get involved with ideas for change.
Warwickshire county Council is asking for input from residents to see if ideas such as raising the road, building a bridge, replacing pipes or even reflooding the castle mere are wanted in the town.
The road floods several times a year in heavy rainfall, leaving cars stuck underwater and traffic blocked up all the way back through High Street.
Speaking at Monday’s community forum, Roger Newham council transport planner, explained that the ford is in fact what is known as an ‘Irish Bridge’ where pipes carry water under the low lying road . And that they have been looking to try and alleviate problems “for some time”.
He said to raise the road or put in a bridge would be costly and “visually intrusive” and that to increase the size of the underground pipes may not be welcomed by the Environment Agency, so all ideas are for now merely suggestions.
But residents called for better traffic management ahead of intrusive road works.
Cllr George Illingworth, argued that it was “far more important” to sort out traffic congestion and warn people of a flood before they head down the narrow roads.
“We need an interim solution for traffic before any of this,” he said. “Can we not have an automatic gauge so when water reaches a certain level there is warning back at the clock tower or Beehive Hill?
“It is no good people getting there and having to turn back.”
Cllr Dave Shilton (Con, Parkhill) urged for the road not to be lifted an said a solution could be found by simply cleaning the pipes more regularly and managing traffic.
Cllr John Whitehouse (Lib Dem, Abbey) said initial responses showed people were not all keen to fix the ford, despite the problems it causes.
“The majority of people we have heard from so far do not want to see the ford changed and that is very clear,” he said.
Anyone with ideas should contact their councillors.