Fears over new homes on flood plain

PUBLISHED: 20:11 20 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:57 03 March 2010

CONCERN is growing that lives will be put at risk if 175 new homes are built on a flood plain at Felixstowe – and protesters say it would be foolish to allow the scheme to go-ahead.

FEARS of flooding have led to new is growing that lives will be put at risk if 175 new homes are built on a flood plain at Felixstowe – and protesters say it would be foolish to allow the scheme to go-ahead.

While there has been widespread concern at how few leisure facilities will be provided on the 17 acres of seafront, it is the proposed homes which are causing most concern among residents.

Suffolk Coastal council says the housing is absolutely necessary because the sale of the homes will fund the recreation side of the development.

Bury St Edmunds-based Bloor Homes, which plans to build a minimum of 170 homes, stands to make around £30 million from the scheme, which will leave Felixstowe with a couple of new children's play areas, an ampitheatre and yet another pub-restaurant.

Civil engineer Norman Thompson, of Felixstowe, said if the houses were allowed by the Environment Agency, they could prove too expensive to build.

"The first question is whether houses should be allowed on a flood plain at all," said Mr Thompson, a member of the Institute of Civil Engineers.

"The institute has just published new research on coastal defences and flood areas and it suggests that if houses are allowed then there will be quite stringent design measures.

"This, of course, will add to the cost of building the houses. It could cost a fortune and may not make housing in flood plains viable.

"In addition, people may find that the insurance industry may refuse to insure new houses on flood plains, which would be a great risk to buyers."

Mr Thompson said the institute had told the government that a number of special measures would be needed to protect homes built where there was a risk of floods and designs would have to include floors higher than current defences.

Developers are also required to pay for the maintenance of flood defences and any extra work needed to protect other properties if their project exacerbates problems in an area.

Former Felixstowe councillor Tom Savage, who lives opposite the development site in Manor Terrace, felt the council had "made light of the possibility of flooding" and not given a full enough answer.

Former newsagent Peter Wheatley said it was not just flooding which was a problem at the site, where the waves have overtopped sea defences.

He said the geology was also troublesome and ground conditions could vary over just a few feet – as Anglian Water had experienced when building the Clearwater sewage scheme a few years ago.

Suffolk Coastal cabinet member David Smith said talks were still taking place between the developers and the Environment Agency about the housing.

"We have considered the flood risk and our advice is that there is a one in 200 year risk. We will not do anything that puts residents at risk," he said.


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