Flood hit Feniton villagers angry at home build plans

Feniton flooding, November 2008
Image caption Feniton was hit by serious flooding in 2008, again in 2010 and twice in a 48-hour period this November

Residents in a Devon village hit by flooding have raised concerns about plans to build more houses.

Several homes in Feniton were flooded on 22 November and again two days later when some properties had to evacuated.

Strategic Land Partnerships (SLP) has submitted an application for 120 homes and another, alternative, one for 59.

Councillor Claire Wright said residents now live in constant fear of flooding, but SLP said its plan included money and land to alleviate the problem.

Simon Steele-Perkins from SLP said during "constructive" talks with the parish council two years ago, pre-conditions discussed included finding solutions to Feniton's flooding.

'Wits' end'

He said both planning applications would deliver funds for a feasibility study into a village-wide flood defence scheme where SLP would provide the land and construct part of a flood relief channel and also help two of the most frequently flooded properties in the village.

Sue Collins, the owner of one of those properties, has been flooded five times this year, making her "more than a bit paranoid" every time it rains heavily, she said.

Building what could be "an awful lot" of new properties in Feniton would, she said, add to the surface run-off into drains that were already struggling to cope.

But Mr Steele-Perkins said SLP would give land to South West Water which he said will allow it to expand the capacity of its foul water pumping station.

"I have huge sympathy for the people in Feniton who've been flooded - I've been flooded and it's absolutely awful, but this application will not make things worse, it will help," he said.

Image caption SLP says it will contribute funds towards a flood-relief scheme for Feniton

SLP has also agreed to sell land to Devon County Council to extend the local primary school, which is at capacity.

Feniton suffered severe flooding in 2008 and 2010 and many people fear building more homes will make the long-standing problems worse.

"Every time heavy rain falls the people who have been flooded feel that they can't sleep because they're constantly going outside to check on the levels of water - they're at their wits' end," Ms Wright said.

Residents are also worried about other developments in the village.

In October, the Planning Inspectorate overruled East Devon District Council's decision to reject an application from Wainhomes for 50 new homes, saying Feniton was a sustainable village and there was a need for housing in the district.

Another rejected application for 32 homes at Ackland Park by developer David Cutler is to be resubmitted.

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