CRUNCH talks over the future of a football club’s flood-hit ground have resulted in a Barnsley MP urging the government to provide extra funding to give the town the protection it needs after three deluges in as many months.

Stephanie Peacock, who represents the Barnsley East constituency, recently visited Worsbrough Bridge AFC alongside Coun Chris Lamb, Barnsley Council’s cabinet spokesman for environment-related matters.( The club, based on Park Lane, was badly affected by the floods in November, which left it unable to play matches on its pitch for six weeks, before the pitch flooded again recently through Storm Ciara.

However, last weekend’s battering from Storm Dennis did not prove to be as bad, although concerns have been raised over its flood-prone pitch due to its close proximity to the River Dove.( During their visit, Stephanie and Coun Lamb met with Mark Booth, the club’s chairman, to discuss the challenges it is facing and ways support can be offered in determining the causes of the problem and finding solutions.
( Stephanie told the Chronicle: “Worsbrough Bridge AFC is a fantastic local football club - it is a community hub and makes such an important contribution to our local area.
( “The club is going through an incredibly challenging time at the moment following the damage it suffered in the flooding in November, which was sadly repeated during the recent storm just as the club was recovering from the original damage.
( “That’s why I felt it was so important to meet with Mark and Chris, so that we can work together as the club, the local MP and the council to help them recover and try to tackle the root causes of the problem so the club doesn’t have to go through this again in future.”

Mark told the Chronicle that work needs to be carried out on the riverbank, which he says has eroded each time due to the raging torrents.

He added: “I had a very productive meeting with Stephanie and Chris to discuss our recent flooding. It’s not an easy issue but we need to be productive to try and find solutions.”

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Although the council’s recently-announced budget proposals - set to be approved next week - allocated £1.5m to spend on boosting protection at worst-hit spots, Stephanie urged the government to allocate more cash to prevent a repeat.

“This is not the first time in recent years that South Yorkshire communities have been hit with severe flooding,” she added.

“People from my community are fed up with the response to the escalating risk and damage. They want assurances that everything is being done to prevent damage at this scale from ever happening again.

“We need action urgently to help households recover from the most recent flooding and a longer-term investment plan to make our region more resilient to floods.

“I hope the government will acknowledge the level of devastation caused by flooding in South Yorkshire. We need investment urgently to support the victims and to prevent flooding such as November’s from ever happening again.”

Since widespread flooding in 2007 - which affected more than 350 properties - the council has invested about £2.2m above its normal maintenance budget on extra flood defence work.

Matt Gladstone, executive director for place for the council, added: “Natural flood management, including more tree-planting which can help to hold back water, is something high on both Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency’s agendas and we’re looking at key sites where this can happen.

“We have to keep an eye on rainfall and the likelihood of flooding, while doing all we can to put measures in place to stop it, as this issue won’t go away.”