Flood resilient design tested during storm Ciara which caused the River Calder to flood the town of Mytholmroyd again

In 2018 Wilson Mason completed the multimillion pound Russell Dean furniture store redevelopment, following irreparable flood damage from storm Desmond in December 2015.

The Environment Agency are investing £30m in a flood defence scheme in the area, but with construction works still in progress, the surrounding residents and local businesses have suffered significantly.

Wilson Mason designed and delivered the challenging project to address the flood risks for Russell Dean, which is located in heart of the community in one of the worst flood affected areas of Mytholmroyd.

Flood resilience measures include:

  • The showrooms located at higher levels remain unaffected, while the robust finishes allow the entrance staircase at ground floor to be simply cleaned down before reopening
  • The strategic and innovative approach to a wet level of flood resilience allows water in and out of the ground floor carpark, reducing water pressure and avoiding building fabric damage
  • The implemented strategy for the attenuation of surface water lets tanks below ground level to fill, allowing the controlled retention and flow of water through the site avoiding water displacement and further damage downstream
  • The plantrooms and electrical supplies are located on the second floor which allowed the lights to remain on during the event. The customer / goods lift designed to reside here also, remained unaffected
  • The store reopens for trading today, two days after the event

A highly sustainable approach was developed to minimise the buildings environmental footprint, seeking to limit adverse effects on climate change in the future. The building benefits from natural light, an integrated natural ventilation strategy and increased insulation levels, making it an efficient design solution.

Simple strategic thinking for future developments could help reduce flooding displacement and run-off, and control the areas allowed to be affected by the floods to minimise or negate flood damage. High level strategic thinking would help improve the situation in the valley in parallel to the Environment Agency infrastructure works.

Russell Dean