WORK to protect a Monmouthshire village from future flooding has been delayed until next  year over financial concerns.

Skenfrith, on the banks of the River Monnow and Norton Brook, has found itself under water three times in 14 months.

Homes and businesses were particularly hard hit after heavy rainfall in October 2019 and again just four months later when Storm Dennis struck in February 2020, causing extensive damage.

Following concerns from local people, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) have been drawing up various options for flood prevention measures.

Welsh government funding was secured last summer to develop an outline business case into the viability of a possible scheme.

However, the project has been put on hold until the start of the new financial year, with officials hoping to kick start it again “as soon as possible”.

Jeremy Parr, head of incident and flood risk management at NRW, said: “The decision to defer our work to explore flood risk management options at Skenfrith has not been taken lightly.

"We have had to review all of our flood-related projects planned for this year right across Wales, taking into consideration the existing commitments we have to projects already in progress or near completion, and take some difficult decisions on the scheduling of new projects as a result."

Monmouth MP David Davies said the news was “bitterly disappointing”.

South Wales Argus: Skenfrith flood defence plans pushed back

“Residents were led to believe work was progressing, with the appointment of a project team to develop an initial assessment study into a strategic outline case,”  he said.

“This is obviously a very disappointing setback. While I realise it is not a personal decision, I do hope NRW officials will be acutely aware of just how concerned and anxious residents will feel.

“It means yet more waiting and, in the meantime, Skenfrith remains a flood risk.”

Mr Parr said: “As we approach the autumn and winter months, we recognise that residents will understandably have concerns about the risk of flooding to homes and businesses within their communities – particularly those who have been personally impacted by flooding over recent years.  

“We understand the anxiety this short delay may cause to residents."

However, he stressed that the decision "does not mean that we are in any way reneging on our commitment to Skenfrith, or that it is a lower priority for us".

"We remain committed to exploring flood risk management options for this community," he said.

"NRW will continue to work with the local authority and the local community to do everything we can within the resources we have to manage flood risk in this area, and we will be eager to push ahead with the strategic outline case as soon as we are able, keeping residents and our partners informed of our progress.”

Despite these reassurances, Mr Davies says he intends to directly question the Welsh Government minister and make a case for the decision to be overturned.

“We cannot let this slide and need to keep up the pressure," he said.