AN £800,000 flood alleviation scheme which is set to “transform the lives” of Rayleigh residents hit by flooding is just a month from completion.

Essex County Council secured £305,000 in funding towards the scheme from the Environment Agency.

The work includes the construction of a small earth dam, called an “attenuation bund”, on Sweyne Park School sports fields and work to increase the storage capacity of Sweyne Park pond, which had previously overflowed during periods of heavy rainfall.

Ground investigations began in April and the scheme should be ready in November.

Mike Steptoe, Rochford Council’s head of the flooding, said: “This extra funding for Rayleigh will ensure that residents benefit from added flood protection and reassurance over and above the improvements that Rochford District Council has already managed to achieve.”

The new scheme will allow water to be stored on the school field before going through a series of land drains and into the surface water drainage system at a controlled rate. The pond work will help increase its storage capacity. The areas to the West of Sweyne Park School have previously suffered repeated flooding. In total, the scheme will protect 55 residential properties.

Simon Walsh, Essex County Council cabinet member for environment, said: “We know it can be a very worrying time for those living in areas susceptible to flooding as the impact of flooding can be potentially devastating.

“We identified high-risk areas such as Rayleigh and have invested money to help transform people’s lives and protect against the blight of flooding.”