A 25-metre-wide channel dug through the middle of Pilton Park could help protect Barnstaple from a one-in-two-hundred-year flood event, experts have claimed. Speaking at yesterdays (Wednesday) Opportunity Barnstaple event, Phil Emonson, principal analyst at JBA Consulting, said the park, which is already a designated flood plain, could provide a solution to keep homes safe between now and 2115. He said: Design concepts for defences at Pilton Park, as well as along Rolle Quay are being drawn up. We have also carried out preliminary environmental and ecological assessments, as well as landscape and visual impact assessments. Mr Emonson said the proposal to create a new channel to direct the River Yeo through the park could cost an estimated £67million and was one of two options being considered. The river currently runs around the park. The second option, which involves raising, replacing and upgrading existing flood defences in the town, could cost £44m. The study, commissioned by North Devon Council, has identified six key at risk flood cells in the town. It shows that if nothing is done to improve flood defences in the town in the next 100 years, a severe tidal flood is predicted to cause around £258m worth of damage to around 2,200 properties. A fluvial (or river) flood during the same time period could cause £166m worth of damage to 1,270 homes. Mr Emonson said the proposals would be put out to public consultation by the council in the coming months.