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Letter: Please get those Spalding sluice gates back

Following the recent distressing flooding in Wainfleet caused by a breach in the River Steeping bank I hope that those responsible for the Spalding Coronation Channel will see fit to replace the sluice gates on Cowbit Road.

Following the 1947 floods the then Welland River Board decided to construct a flood channel to bypass the town centre.

The engineers were aware that some of the clays in the Clay Lake area were suspect for use in bank construction.

When very wet, the clay could lose its shear strength and cause the bank to slump, and when very dry it could shrink and cause the bank to crack.

This latter characteristic is probably one of the causes of the Steeping bank failure.

To safeguard against the possibility of a failure in the Coronation bank it was decided to instal a control sluice at the head of the channel in Cowbit Road.

In the event of a bank failure it would then be possible to control or stop the flow into the channel, thus reducing flooding near the breach and enabling repair works to be carried out quickly.

Many years later these sluice gates were removed on the grounds that they had never been used (thankfully) and they were expensive to maintain.

These gates were an insurance and like other insurance it is paid for in the hope that it never needs to be used.

The River Welland has a much larger catchment than the River Steeping and there are many more properties at risk in Spalding.

Get those sluice gates back !

Barrie Shearer

Chartered civil engineer and Spaldonian

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