A man who has lived in Kendal for more than two decades says he is moving away from the town because of its flood scheme.

Lee Wilson said he and many others in the town were dismayed at the Environment Agency’s (EA) decision to fell trees as part of the Kendal Flood Risk Management Scheme - most recently near Stramongate Bridge this week.

Mr Wilson, who has lived in Kendal for 23 years, had his home in Castle Street flooded during Storm Desmond in 2015.

But he said he does not agree with the flood scheme and that the current works at Gooseholme and the building of flood defence walls along sections of the River Kent had made him decide to put his house up for sale.

The Environment Agency has said the £76million scheme will help to protect more than 2,000 homes and businesses in the River Kent catchment from flooding and that it is planting more than 4,000 trees in the area.

They added that the felling of trees in the Gooseholme area was necessary as part of preparatory works before construction can begin on flood defences in the area.

“When they first started this programme of felling the trees I felt dismayed, a lot of people didn’t want that, we didn’t want this area to have a wall and the trees butchered down,” said Mr Wilson.

“It’s heartbreaking to see what’s going on there’s a lot of unhappy people.

“It’s taken the beauty away from the area.

“I bought the house on Castle Street because it was near Gooseholme, the weir and the trees - the whole area is beautiful.

“I’m going to leave the area and put my house up for sale because the beauty of Gooseholme is gone.

“I think a lot of people would prefer to be flooded than see this eyesore built.”

Stewart Mounsey, Flood Risk Manager for the Environment Agency said the scheme was an ‘important step’ in the town becoming more resilient to climate change and the ‘likely’ increased risk of flooding.

“The scheme will also make a wider contribution to improving wildlife, habitat, amenity, walking and cycling,” he said.

“Before any construction works can begin on the multi-million flood risk management scheme, we need to undertake extensive preparatory works. Sadly, as part of this work a number of trees and vegetation will be needed to removed.

“This included the removal of two trees at Stramongate Bridge this week. An Independent Ecological Clerk of Works was on site monitoring the removal of trees and vegetation and we will continue to work with the clerk over the coming months. 
“Pre-construction surveys have been carried out with all relevant guidelines being adhered to.

He added that several options have been identified for the re-use of the felled trees, including sculptures, educational art, habitat creation and seating and that the EA and contractors have installed 64 new bird and bat boxes throughout Kendal.

“We will also be planting over 4,000 new trees as part of our landscape design within Kendal and improving community spaces at Beezon fields and Benson Sands,” said Mr Mounsey.