WORK to protect a village with a castle and 13th Century church from future flooding has stalled after it was revealed there is no project manager to progress the scheme. 

Skenfrith, on the banks of the River Monnow on the Monmouthshire/Herefordshire county border, found itself under water three times in 14 months, and Monmouth MP David Davies has described the latest setback as “shocking”.

Homes and businesses were hit in October 2019 and again four months later when Storm Dennis struck in February 2020, causing damage to all properties bar one. 

Owners and staff at the award-winning Bell even watched helplessly as containers holding their furniture and other fittings floated out of the car park, later being found several miles downstream.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has been drawing up options for flood prevention – with £104,000 budgeted to develop a Strategic Outline Case into the viability of a scheme.   

But last September, NRW announced it was looking to save money due to “significant” financial pressures, and the project was placed on hold until the start of April 2024. 

While a funding allocation for the 2024/25 financial year has now been made from the Welsh Government to kick-start work, NRW has admitted it does not currently have a project manager to take the plans forward. 

Mr Davies, a long-term supporter of the villagers’ campaign for better flood defences said: “Just when we are given good news about funding and thought the scheme was back on track, we are now told two experienced project managers have recently left and there is no-one else available,. 

“This is turning into a fiasco and I am simply not satisfied. Residents are living in constant fear of another major flood and Skenfrith deserve proper protection. 

“Having secured funding, it surely ought to be possible to find somebody who can get things moving and NRW need to work very hard to recruit so there are no further delays.” 

NRW’s head of operations for South East Wales, Steve Morgan, said a recruitment process was underway and is expected to take several weeks. 

But he warned Mr Davies of “a number of constraints”, including an “extremely competitive” external market for experienced project managers and engineers.