Consultation on Future development to east of Swindon – Flooding
Swindon Borough Council is currently consulting local residents on a draft plan that will see houses built to the East of the A419 over the next 20 years. One of the big concerns we have, and local residents have, is around the risk of future flooding especially because of what occurred during the 2007 floods. Transport and roads is the other big issue.
In 2009, Swindon Borough Council consulted on a previous version called the Eastern Development Area (EDA) and included over 12000 homes – a target set by the government and regional assembly. The main concerns were focussed around the scale and extent of growth, flooding and the impact of the development upon existing communities. As the Chairman of the Planning Committee, I refused to allow the document to be presented to the Committee for approval because I thought it was unacceptable and I shared the concerns of residents about what it contained. The EDA plan has been scrapped, and the current government brought in new rules which, last year, allowed the Council to cut the number of homes expected by 40%. The new approach is for the housing to be split in five new villages, instead of one big development.
I live in Coleview and have been your Councillor for 9 years, while Cllr Richard Hurley lives in Covingham, so we know first hand the importance of getting this plan right. This development has been on the cards for 30 years, and as the Cabinet member for Strategic Planning at Swindon Borough Council, I am determined that when it does happen in the future that Swindon has a high quality development which has the right infrastructure for our roads and reduces the risk of flooding to existing communities.
In 2012, there was cross political party support for the new Councils approach to housing development in Swindon which I am overseeing, and earlier this year a cross party Committee of Councillors voted to support the new draft plan for consultation.
I still believe there remain challenges to solve but this document is a step forward, and sets out clearly and explicitly what is involved, and by being upfront with developers they know exactly what they need to do. The document is important because it provides the basis for the Council deciding future planning applications. If the Council does not agree a version of this document soon then the developers will have free reign when they do apply, and it will be very difficult to control what happens.
Personally, I would really to see an appendix added to this Planning document which lists a series of flood preventation works that are needed to improve the current situation, and act like a “shopping list” for developers to implement. For example, new culverts to be built from Covingham under the roads to the east, and removal of the Dorcan Brook Flood Storage Area.
To make this happen it is important for you to send in your comments as soon as possible so that they can be used as evidence to further strengthen our demands, and support these kind of additions.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. firstname.lastname@example.org
Example text on flooding from the Eastern Villages Supplementary Planning Document
2.23 Within the Eastern Villages there are a number of river corridors, streams, brooks and tributaries including the River Cole, Liden Brook, Lenta Brook, Dorcan Stream and South Marston Brook. As such, parts of the Eastern Villages lie within medium and high risk flood zones as defined by the Environment Agency (Flood zones 2 and 3 respectively) and these are not proposed for development other than for essential infrastructure and those uses identified as acceptable in these zones in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) Technical Guidance covering Flood Risk. The necessity to deliver essential infrastructure and the extent of public open space within Flood Zones 2 and 3 will still need to be fully justified within a Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) and in line with assessments and tests as set out by the NPPF and its Technical Guidance
2.24 It is essential that development at the new EV offers the opportunity to improve the drainage arrangements in the area and reduce the risk of flooding. This is particularly pertinent to the west of the site in the existing residential areas of east Swindon and this will be pursued by the Borough Council in partnership with the Environment Agency and Thames Water. The Indicative Masterplan includes an area for flood alleviation that may also benefit existing drainage and flooding problems in east Swindon. This must be thoroughly investigated and unless proved impracticable it must be incorporated into the relevant outline planning application(s) for the EV.
2.26 The required Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) must also address surface water attenuation and run-off. Sufficient land must be set aside within the Eastern Villages for surface water attenuation. The Environment Agency has advised that approximately 20 hectares will be appropriate for this purpose, although 30 hectares would represent a contingency.
Please email your comments, with your name and address, to email@example.com (and ideally firstname.lastname@example.org) or write to :
Masterplanning and Design Team
5th Floor, Wat Tyler House West
Swindon. SN1 2JH