Developing to the East of Chippenham is raising the odds on Chippenham Town and Monkton Park flooding and causing serious damage to property, and putting lives at risk.
This is a bold statement, but you have to LOOK at the facts:
The National Planning Policy Framework document states “Development should not take place adjacent to a flood plain”
The area of land as option C in the Core Strategy put forward for development is Flood Zone 1, but the land adjacent and alongside the River Avon is Flood Zones 2 & 3.
Why is Wiltshire Council going against the guidance of the NPPF?
Council officers from the Flood Working Group have advised Wiltshire Council not to build to the East of Chippenham.
Those officers are experienced and know the ground well, and the engineering solutions available to mitigate flooding.
Why has their advice been ignored?
NPPF Para 99 states “Local Plans should take into account Climate Change over the longer term, including factors of flood risk.
NPPF Para 100 states “Inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding should be avoided by directing development away from areas of the highest risk, but where development is necessary, making it safe without increasing the flood risk elsewhere”
Development to the East of Chippenham will increase the risk of flooding both downstream at Chippenham Town and upstream at the parishes of Bremhill, Langley Burrell, Christian Malford and Sutton Benger.
December 23rd 2013 heavy rain, which had fallen in the previous days, culminated in Chippenham Town nearly being flooded - Avenue La Fleche was a foot deep in water FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER! A Wiltshire Flood engineer forwards a photograph to the Wiltshire Council planning department at Monkton Park asking them to look out of the window to see how close the River Avon had come to breeching its banks!
December 24th 2013, a chicken farmer loses 80,000 chickens as the River Avon bursts its banks at Foxham. Homes at Sutton Benger are flooded, and traffic cannot pass Maud Heath’s Causeway.
Why is Wiltshire Council ignoring the warnings from its Council officers and recent evidence of flooding in the area?
As part of Wiltshire Council’s preparations for the last Core Strategy a report by Scott Wilson (engaged by the Council) stated, “ The Bristol Avon catchment area includes a large majority of North Wiltshire. There is a flood risk to people, and a reduction of risk to life associated with fast flows is required”
The Scott Wilson report at Policy 5 stated "In the area of Chippenham, flooding in this area is currently felt to be HIGH and will continue to be HIGH in the future”
The report went on to say that the existing level of flood risk management is not sufficient with significant risk to people and assets.
Why is Wiltshire Council ignoring the advice from consultants engaged by the Council and paid for with public money?
Climate change; the NPPF Technical document states “Rainfall intensity between 2015-2025 will increase by 5% and river flows of the Avon and Marden will increase by 10%. However from 2025 -2055 the rainfall intensity will increase by 10% and the river flow by 20%”.
This additional rain will increase the flow of both rivers. The result is academic; unless the flood defences are increased at Chippenham Town, the town will be overwhelmed by the increased flow, resulting in damage to property and a threat to human life - and this is before any housing is built to the east of Chippenham.
Has the Council taken note of Climate Change figures for the river flows, and if so where are they in the proposed Core Strategy documents?
Chippenham and surrounding areas flood. If 2,000 houses are constructed adjacent to the flood plain to the east of Chippenham, the run off from the houses, roads, offices, and driveways will push the rainfall quickly into the rivers.
An average 4-bedroom house with driveway will produce 2,000 litres of water an hour in heavy rain. With 2,000 houses on site C this will produce 4 million litres of water an hour. With 6 hours of rain that creates 24 million litres of water. How will a developer manage that quantity of water if the flood plain is already full? It certainly cannot be held in the ground, which is already saturated.
Climate Change will deliver increased rainfall in the future and any development upstream of Chippenham Town centre will be a risk.
There are other areas of land available for development where the risks are much less, and in some areas non-existent; the Council should direct development to those areas, especially brown field sites.
WHY THE DETERMINATION TO BUILD?
Money of course; Chippenham 2020 LLP wants to go into partnership with the Council to develop this land.
Is this right? is there not a conflict of interest here?
Is the proposed eastern link road for the benefit of Chippenham - Or for the 2,000+ houses to be built on the site? It is for the SITE - how else will 4,000 cars a day find a way off the development?
POLLUTION from the water run off will damage the two river valleys, and there will be a loss of wildlife.
ENGAGE NOW WITH THE CONSULTATION PROCESS ON THE WILTSHIRE COUNCIL WEB SITE. YOU ONLY HAVE UNTIL THE 8TH APRIL TO VOICE YOUR CONCERNS.