They say ‘integrated schemes’ - where local authorities work closely with public utilities to share knowledge, reduce costs and pool skills – are essential to provide the answers the public is looking for.
Guildford Team Manager Steven Drennan said: “Campaigners in Ash and the Ash Vale have called on the local authority and utilities to come up with a workable plan to tackle the terrible inundations we saw two years ago.
“They are understandably determined to safeguard their homes but aren’t convinced as to the willingness of various authorities to work together.
“But our experience brokering just these kind of collaborative schemes has proved beyond doubt that the integrated approach brings the best results – within the timeframe demanded by the public.”
Steven Drennan said collaborative working is starting to be recognised as a way forward, bringing localism to life in its truest sense.
“Bruton Knowles has helped broker a number of integrated schemes across the South East tackling a range of environmental issues as diverse as urban flooding, endangered species and even chronic traffic problems.
He cited three successful projects at Dulwich, Thatcham and Tunbridge Wells where local authorities had teamed up with public utilities and businesses to share knowledge, budget, staff and skills to push schemes through so that the delivery outputs can be put to use and appreciated quicker.
- In Dulwich, Bruton Knowles worked closely with Southwark Council and Thames Water to identify solutions to remedy serious residential flooding risk, providing flood alleviation measures including storm water storage in Dulwich Park. The scheme is designed to protect properties in the area that have suffered from sewer flooding in recent years.
- Bruton Knowles worked closely with its client Thames Water and landowners at Thatcham Reedbeds, a 165-acre site of special scientific interest in Berkshire, to facilitate drainage works without harming the environment for a rare species of water snail.
- At the North Farm retail park in Tunbridge Wells, Bruton Knowles worked with several big-name retailers and Kent County Council to achieve a cooperative scheme aimed at widening the access road and easing traffic and avoid costs of land purchase.
Steven Drennan said: “All of these schemes had caused considerable headaches for the local authorities and utilities involved, but by embracing a collaborative approach with clients and stakeholders we helped ensure a prompt and economically-effective solution with clear benefits to the end users.
“Most of our skills are brought to bear in these complex schemes, from valuation and development input to compensation - a real team effort.
“We believe working in partnership is the way forward for local authorities faced with a wide range of costly public work projects that they need to deliver quickly on a strictly limited budget.”