The next phase of Old Laxey’s flood protection works has been given the go-ahead.

Proposals to construct and extend the flood defence walls of riverside properties on Glen Road have been approved by the planning committee.

But there were concerns raised about the appearance of the new concrete wall in what is a conservation area.

The works involve constructing and extending the flood walls on a 350 stretch of the north side of the riverbank from the property called Braeside downstream to the New Laxey Bridge.

Retaining walls be strengthened and raised to comply with a one-in-100-year climate change design standard.

The works would vary in height above the river bank by between 1.2m and 1.6m. Some 62 homes in the village were engulfed by the devastating floods of October 2019. A major incident was declared when the Laxey River burst its banks.

Emergency services at the scene of the Laxey floods in 2019
Emergency services at the scene of the Laxey floods in 2019 (Dave Kneale)

Just four years earlier the Old Laxey Bridge collapsed under the weight of a double decker bus when the village was struck by flash flooding.

Conservation planning consultant Patricia Newton told the committee that the riverside stone walling on the already reinforced riverside wall further upstream has not been completed despite it being a condition of the approval of the reconstruction. She described its appearance as ‘dire’. Garff Commissioners had expressed concern that the 'river' face of the wall would just have a concrete finish, as this would appear out of character when viewed from the public pathway on the opposite bank of the river. A resident on Glen Road pointed out that the stretch of wall between Lewin's Cottage and the Laxey Bridge had been entirely rebuilt, without registered building consent, using stone from the Old Laxey Bridge, after the 2019 flooding.

They said: ‘It would be an absolute travesty if this stretch of wall had any in any way to be touched as part of the current proposal since it was presumably rebuilt to appropriate standards barely five years ago and presumably at considerable expense.’

Committee member Matthew Warren said he was supportive of the new flood defences but added: ‘At the same time it had to look good - this is a conservation area.’

He suggested the use of a type of concrete that could ‘green up in some way’.

Fellow committee member Adele Bettridge said she was concerned if the already constructed flood defence walls have not been completed as they should have been.

The planning committee approved the application, with five votes in favour and one against. A condition of the consent states that details of surface finishes above river level have to be approved in writing before the works begin.