Experts have warned that Helston is at risk of flooding every year - and this likelihood is set to double in the coming years.

This is the warning being given in a report accompanying plans to create new flood defences in the town.

A planning application has been received by Cornwall Council for land at the River Cober, west of St Johns Road and Mill Lane.

The scheme involves building a new flood defence wall between Cober Dell and Willowdale, with a road ramp to act as a flood defence and access for both vehicles and pedestrians slightly further south.

The existing flood embankment would be raised and reinforced, and immediately south of St John's Road Bridge, a new flood defence would be added on top of the river bank.

Six new sections of flood defence wall would be built between St John's Road Bridge and County Bridge, on the A394 Penzance Road, with a surface water pumping chamber at the junction between Almshouse Hill and St John’s Road.

A new, high floodgate close to Kingdom Hall Bridge would be added for continued access to the Jehovah's Witnesses hall.

The plans also include various new maintenance access points, plus a temporary compound at the Fairground Car Park off Porthleven Road for contractors while the work takes place.

It would result in the temporary diversion of two footpaths at the northern end of Mill Lane, subject to separate permission, and temporary removal of garden sheds, compost bins and part of a garage during the building of the flood defence walls, which would be replaced again afterwards.

Describing the need for the work, the Environment Agency states: "There have been many reported instances of flooding in Helston."

A flood alleviation scheme was completed in 1989, which involved making a larger water channel, and since then the frequency of flooding has reduced.

However, the town suffered severe flooding in 1993 when around 50 homes were flooded, and again in December 2012 when a high River Cober coincided with a high water level in Loe Pool, which did not have enough time to drain to a normal level.

This caused a number of homes in the St Johns area to be flooded just before Christmas, with the evacuation of 200 householders and a severe flood warning, meaning "risk to life," in place for two days. At some points as much as 9,000 litres of water per minute was pumped away.

As an emergency measure the Environment Agency brought in a number of large capacity pumps, which have been in place ever since in case of further incidents.

The report adds: "However, this pumping arrangement is not considered to be a sustainable long term solution, with

the expected impact of climate change requiring this emergency procedure to become more frequent in the future."

It goes on to say that testing as part of the planning application confirmed that Helston was currently at risk from flooding from the River Cober, with a one in ten annual probability of flooding from the river. This increased to a one in five annual probability when future climate change was taken into account.

Cornwall Council is due to make a decision on the scheme in December.