Plans for more than 1.5 miles of defences to protect 870 homes against future flooding have been passed unanimously.
The first phase of a £40m scheme to safeguard properties in Radcliffe and Redvales has been given the go-ahead — three years after the Boxing Day floods which devastated the town.
Work to build more than 2.5km of defences in Close Park and at land to the south of Morris Street, including a raised embankment along the edge of the River Irwell, is expected to begin next month. The design also incorporates new wildlife and green space, as well as improved football and sports provision in Close Park.
Colette Jones, chairwoman of the Radcliffe and Redvales Flood Action Group, said: “It is wonderful news that the defence plans have been given the green light. Residents really feel things are moving quickly. We are another step nearer to having the fear of flood eliminated from our lives.”
The new scheme, led by the Environment Agency in partnership with Bury Council, was voted through at planning committee on Tuesday night.
Councillors were told that last week’s high river levels were a “timely reminder” of the risk that residents are still living with.
Andy Cameron, senior flood risk management for the Environment Agency, said: “We had a reminder only just the weekend before last of the risk of flooding in this area. We got away with it. It was close, but we didn’t have any flooding thankfully.”
He said that the materials used for the flood defences will be “sympathetic” to surroundings.
Cllr Gavin McGill asked for measures to be taken to ensure that children cannot get onto the embankment.
A condition was added to the planning permission that requires the council to approve these measures once construction commences.
A number of trees have already been felled in Close Park to make way for the scheme, however these will be replaced on a five-to-one basis.
Christian Wilcox, Area Flood and Coastal Risk Manager for the Environment Agency, said: “Radcliffe and Redvales residents have been waiting for a number of years for increased flood protection in their community and those who still live with the trauma of the Boxing Day 2015 flood event should not be made to wait any longer to get their flood defences in place.
“We are therefore delighted that the planning committee has now approved the plans for the Radcliffe and Redvales Flood Alleviation Scheme.”
Approval for the scheme has been granted subject to confirmation that the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire, does not wish to call in the application for his own determination.