The Lustrum Beck has a long history of flooding. There have been a number of historic attempts to reduce flood risk. In 2003, a flood scheme for the Lustrum Beck gained financial approval, and had a whole life cost of £12.3 million. However due to funding constraints the scheme was unviable and hence other smaller scale measures were explored. In 2012 the worst flood in living memory hit Stockton causing flooding to over 150 homes, major infrastructure and businesses. This brought key stakeholders and the community together in an attempt to solve the flooding problems in a way that provided flood risk and wider community benefits while reducing whole life scheme costs to ensure the scheme was viable.
The existing system of defences were beginning to require persistent repairs and the security screen at Primrose Hill required extensive resources to keep it clear of debris. It was key that any scheme reduced the manpower and other resource requirements for ongoing maintenance.
The 2003 scheme reduced the risk of river flooding, however the flooding of 2012 demonstrated the area to also be at risk from surface water and sewer flooding. It was therefore essential for the Environment Agency to work with Northumbrian Water and Stockton on Tees Borough Council to develop a more holistic scheme.
The channel had effectively been canalised in the 1950s and was now classed as failing under the Water Framework Directive. A successful project would need deliver environmental improvements as well as flood risk benefits.