Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Leave Flood Plains to do what they do best - flood!

River Loddon. Photograph by Andrew Smith
There is a major new planning development being proposed for Winnersh on the borders of Lower Earley. The development will be of particular concern to residents of Lower Earley living near the hotel and cinema.

The planning application (O/2006/8687) has been on hold for more than 4 years while the necessary paper work and flood analysis were completed, however, the application has now been re-activated and you only have until the 9th of March to comment. The full plans can be found on Wokingham Borough Council's website here.

The proposed development is for 433 homes to be built in between Lower Earley and Winnersh on the open space adjacent to the Moat House Hotel. There will be a new road linking Lower Earley Way (B3270) to King Street Lane in Winnersh, and the majority of the land on Earley's side will be designated as a country park - because it floods. We understand that the Environmental Agency has withdrawn all of its previous objections and now accepts the developer's plans to alleviate flooding - it's complicated, but in essence the developer plans to build two large underground storage tanks to hold the flood water. In theory the scheme should be given a green light because Wokingham Borough Council has already approved the use of this flood land for housing, but the final decision will ultimately be taken by Wokingham's Planning Committee.

We support the Loddon Valley Residents' Association which has come out against this application and has also produced a flyer describing the development which you may read here. The LVRA is also holding a public meeting on this matter at 7.45pm on Friday 11th March at the Parish Council Hall, Mole Road, Sindlesham. Please visit www.loddonvalleyra.org.uk for more information.

The Earley Liberal Democrat Group policy is clear on this. We do not approve of development on flood land. In this particular instance we are concerned that the development may exacerbate flooding near to Mill Lane and we have strong doubts that the flood prevention mechanism put in place will be sustainable in the long term ( 20 years+ ). Furthermore, we have concerns over the traffic flow once the new road system is in place. We will be writing to Wokingham Borough Council to voice these concerns and recommend you do the same.

If you would like to send in your comments to the Borough Council you only have until 9th March, everything you need to know about how to comment on planning applications can be found here.

Please get in touch if you have any specific questions about the application and we will try our best to help. We will continue to post more information about this application as events unfold.