Flood defences at The Hive

  • 2nd May 2012

We have just endured the wettest April for 100 years, and many will remember only too clearly the flooding we have experienced in recent years in Worcester; so many of you may be wondering ‘just how well is The Hive protected against the threat of floods’?

The landscaped areas surrounding The Hive:

When The Hive was in its planning stages, a lot of work was carried out with the Environment Agency to assess the impact it would have on the area and in particular the flood capacity of the site. The building and its surroundings were then carefully designed with this in mind. In order to take account of future developments, flood predictions were calculated for the next 100 years, with an additional 20% added to allow for any unexpected anomalies.

One of the basins, which absorb water into the ground:


The building has been constructed to sit above the predicted flood plain, which means that it is not in any threat of flooding into the building. An additional protective feature has also been put into place, which sees the building surrounded by basin like areas that are specially designed to absorb any water that enters them. This means that water entering the basin, either as heavy rainfall or as floodwater, is drawn into the ground and away from the building.

The Hive has improved the flood capacity of the area:

The construction of The Hive has actually improved the flood capacity of the area surrounding it, as it now features a greater expanse of soft surfaces. By replacing hard surfaces such as tarmac with landscaped areas of grass, the opportunity for water absorption is increased. So rest assured, our lovely new building is perfectly safe and protected from those rising river levels!

2020 Update

Since the article was written we have had two exceptional floods, including 2020. In each case the flooding has come up to The Hive to the flood level but we have stayed open. The soft landscaping has acted as planned and absorbed some of the flood water, becoming a mini moat.

Each time Worcester floods get people ask us about the archives, concerned in case they are flooded. We are pleased to say they are fine and are perfectly safe and dry in the archive strongrooms. We’ve continued to open as normal, although advising people to check before travelling and ensure they can get to us safely.

2014 flood showing flooded Cattlemarket car park and water in the landscaping in front of The Hive

2014 floods

3 responses to “Flood defences at The Hive”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wouldn't it have been a lot cheaper to just build it somewhere that doesn't flood?

  2. This is really great! I guess proper flow of water is what would happen in here.

  3. That's an interesting point. It might have been easier to build away from the flood plain, although then there would be the difficult problem of where to find a big enough space in Worcester that would be as easily accessible to the general public and to the university students to provide this resource. It's hard to find the right balance but I think this building has made great steps to achieve it.

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