A NEW water storage basin that aims to stop Keswick from flooding will be the first of its kind in Cumbria.

But experts hope this kind of upstream protection will soon be used more widely across the county to prevent future disasters.

Cumbria County Council has bought a large field upstream of Keswick, in the south of the town.

Here they will create a large grassed basin to collect water, with a pipe system to let it out gradually into the River Greta.

It is a major part of a new £2m flood protection scheme planned for Keswick, drawn up by Cumbria County Council.

Once complete, it will protect at least 118 homes in the Penrith Road area.

However it will result in a 14-week closure of the busy road while essential work is carried out.

James Daplyn, programme lead, said it is impossible to complete the project without. But he said contractors would be working six and seven day weeks from September 2 to help speed it up.

He explained that the £2m project aims to reduce the impact of surface water, which currently builds up on Penrith Road as it struggles to drain into the River Greta. It will also see an improved drainage pipe and pumping station installed, plus extra flood protection measures at high-risk homes.

Mr Daplyn said the storage basin is key. “This is a well-used technique, but as a county council it is a first for us,” he explained.

“Moving forward, we would expect to see more of this kind of thing and more natural flood management measures on farmland.”

County councillor Keith Little added: “Upstream water storage is a big opportunity for us. It keeps a large volume of water from getting into streams and rivers. We can then let it down when river levels start to drop. It’s about slowing the flow.”