Flood development 'could endanger life'

Environment Agency chiefs have said that most of the development earmarked for the south sea front at Felixstowe is at risk of flooding – and could endanger lives.

Environment Agency chiefs have said that most of the development earmarked for the south sea front at Felixstowe is at risk of flooding – and could endanger lives.

The agency, which advises Suffolk Coastal District Council, said that it may reject the proposals because of its fears.

The news is a boost to campaigners hoping to protect the 17-acre site from Bloor Homes' proposed development of a possible 188 houses.

The Environment Agency concerns reflect the situation in other parts of the country where developers are trying to build houses on flood plains to overcome the region's housing shortage.

Developers are hoping to build 100,000 new properties in the Thames Gateway region, in the east of London, but have met strong opposition after claims that building in flood risk areas would put lives in danger.

Doreen Rayner, chairman of the West End of Felixstowe (South) Residents Association, said: "It will help the campaign greatly because couple that news along with news that there might be problems with insurance - we feel that this will help and go a long way to stopping the construction of houses.

Most Read

"It is actually concerning what we have been trying to say to Suffolk Coastal council. If the defences are not sufficiently adequate we don't see how they can possibly build houses on flood land."

Michael Guthrie, Environment Agency customer services manager, said that if developers wanted to build on the flood risk area they would have to make costly changes to protect the proposed homes.

"We wouldn't recommend building on it as such without doing a thorough investigation," he said. "The standing at the moment is that there is no planning application gone in and as there's no planning application there's no flood risk assessment submitted."

The agency does not have any powers to directly alter planning decisions but can offer recommendations to the council as to what work can be done to protect the houses from the local environment.

Mr Guthrie said the only reason they have not objected yet was because they can not intervene until the council has received a planning application.

He added that the Environment Agency would not be able to make a concrete decision on whether they would object until they have carried out a flood risk assessment and analysed the area formally.

Bloor Homes said they have spoken to the agency and admit that the site is at flood risk, but that the houses could still be built there.

"As part of the necessary details prior to an application we believe the flood risk assessment proves that there is adequate provisions against flood risk therefore the site is developable," said Andrew Marns, land manager at Bloor Homes.

"From the information at the moment there is a tidal flood risk but it is a risk and really the purpose of the document we will be preparing will quantify that risk and it will be measured as such to obviously prove that development is viable down there."

Weblink: suffolkcoastal.gov.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter