Winnersh floodplain housing development dubbed madness

Hatch Farm Dairies, Wokingham Image copyright Michael Rich
Image caption Hatch Farm Dairies was underwater during the 2014 floods

Plans to build about 400 homes in an area notorious for flooding have been described as "madness".

Part of Hatch Farm Dairies in Winnersh, Berkshire, was submerged under 3ft of water during last year's storms.

Residents fear the development on the site near the flood-prone River Loddon will encroach on floodplain land.

But Wokingham council said any flooding issues had been "addressed" and the development met criteria set out by the Environment Agency.

The plan for 433 homes, a primary school and a link road on the site was highlighted by the Flood Protection Association (FPA) as an example of a lack of thought in where to build houses.

It stated development on floodplains should be an "absolute last resort".

Phiala Mehring from the Loddon Valley Residents Association said: "Everyone knows we have a flooding problem locally, so I think it would now be a sensible point to put a line in the sand and say 'okay, why don't we have a look at ways we can manage our current situation before we do anything at all that could potentially increase the flooding risk'".

Developer Bovis Homes said its "engineering operations" would help alleviate historical flooding issues in the area.

It added that only the link road would be constructed within a "flooding zone", not the houses and school, and that "adequate compensatory excavation will be provided... to ensure that there will be no loss of floodplain storage capacity".

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