Building on flood plains

The Hatch Farm Development

Building on flood plains

Postby Phiala » Sun Jan 12, 2014 12:58 pm

Dear Mr Cameron,

Thank you for flagging up the plight of flood victims by visiting Yalding. What you witnessed is not even half the stress and trauma that those people will go through. They have months if not years of trying to rebuild their livelihoods and then they still have to live with the prospect of flooding again. The sound of rain will be enough to get the heart pumping and the stress levels rising. My heart goes out to them.

Coming from the flooding community you would expect me to berate you about the cuts that the Environment Agency are about to go through. I understand that the country is working very hard to get out of the financial hole we fell into. But who is going to manage and implement flood risk management in the future? Who is going to co-ordinate the work required to help the residents of Yalding?

But I really want to save my ‘berating’ for the planning rules that your government has backed through the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which enable flood plains and areas around flood plains to be built upon. Locally we have five developments (proposed or actually being built) that encroach in some way onto the flood plain. If you are sincere in your desire to help reduce flooding then we could go a long way to preventing future flooding by simply not developing in and around flood plains.

The attached picture of the area around Hatch Farm, Wokingham (taken by Michael Rich on 5th January shows the current state of a local site which has outline planning permission for hundreds of homes and other ‘essential infrastructure’ (the flooding equivalent of ‘get out of goal free’ card). Where will the flood water go in future? Is this the way to prevent future flooding? Is this what the NPPF set out to achieve?

Common sense tells me that we should be stopping all planned and proposed developments on and around flood plains. This would give us (residents, local and national government, the EA and the National Flood Forum) the time needed to properly revisit the NPPF and ensure that flooding is addressed effectively such as to prevent unnecessary future flooding.

The ‘growth economy’ may be vital to the financial recovery of the country but surely not at any cost?
Hatch Farm site from the bridge 5th January 2014.jpg
Hatch Farm site from the bridge 5th January 2014.jpg (2.01 MiB) Viewed 2414 times
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