FLOOD defences ‘worked as designed to’ as the River Weaver rose to record levels over the weekend, the Environment Agency has said.

The water peaked half a metre higher than previous the previous high, recorded during the 2000 floods, as almost 70mm of rain fell in the space of 24 hours.

Areas of the town centre including Waitrose and Witton Street saw flooding, which the EA says was restricted by successfully implemented flood defences.

The £7m flood management scheme – installed in June 2017 – saw demountable barriers put in place from Friday night, holding back the rising Weaver and Dane.

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Lee Rawlinson, Environment Agency area director, said: "Our thoughts are with all those who have had their homes and businesses flooded during heavy rain this weekend.

"Local authorities, the Environment Agency and partners are working together to support communities and businesses affected to help them recover as quickly as possible.

Northwich Guardian:

"The Environment Agency’s £7m defences in Northwich held and were able to deal with the increased water levels from the rivers, however there was a small amount of seepage in one location which was managed by our pumps.

"We are investigating this at the moment.

"During the flooding itself our teams worked 24/7, deploying temporary barriers, operating pumps, helping communities stay safe and we have been assessing impacts.

"Since then, our community officers have been out on the ground supporting people in affected areas.

"Our staff are still protecting properties by undertaking grid runs, operating pumps and maintaining public safety by ensuring rivers remain clear."

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After heavy rain throughout Friday and overnight, Waitrose car park was underwater by Saturday afternoon with Dane Street following suit, leading to barriers being erected at the Watling Street junction.

Boats moored at Hayhurst Quay marina were evacuated early on Sunday morning as river levels peaked.

Along with emergency services, the EA mobilised two site controllers, two flood incident support officers and nine operations field staff to deal with the incident.

Teams were on site overnight and into Sunday, to deal with the areas affected and speak to the community.

An EA spokesman said: “The Northwich flood risk management scheme protected the area of Northwich this weekend, protecting a total of 1050 properties.

“There was a total of up to 60-70 mm of rain in the area over the weekend leading to flooding from other sources than the river.

“The flood defences worked as designed to, and protected 400 properties and 1,050 people.”

The Met Office had issued a yellow warning for rain over the weekend, prompting flood warnings.