Flooding concerns for 200 
new homes

FLOODING is the top concern when it comes to proposals to build 200 new village homes.

About 120 residents of Woodford Halse gathered on Thursday last week to discuss plans for 200 new homes on the edge of the village, north of Byfield Road.

A small corner of the field had the Upton Close affordable homes development built on it six years ago.

Pam Williams is one of the residents. She said: “I live in Upton Close in a shared ownership house. They were built in 2008 and I moved in during 2010, but the rest of the homes weren’t occupied until 2011.

“My home flooded during the bad rain we had in November. There’s a ditch running down my back garden, but the water came from the other direction, from the land where they’re planning on building these 200 new homes.

“The water just came and in minutes it was eight inches deep. It came over the six-inch step into my doors. It was gutting to see everything I’ve worked hard for getting soaked. I had to get out within minutes, and I’ve not been able to move back yet. I’m not going to be back in my own home until March.

“The water did £10,000 of structural damage and £8,000 of my belongings have been written off by the insurers. When I moved in I didn’t know about the chance of flooding.

“Unsurprisingly most of the residents are not local, because everyone who’s lived in Woodford for a while seems to know this is a flooding area.

“If they build homes on this field then it might make flooding in my street worse, but also there might be more people buying homes without realising the risks. I invested £40,000 in my home, but my insurance will now go up, the value of the house will go down and who will buy it in a flood risk area?”

Kate Kee, another villager, said: “I don’t live anywhere near the site, but I’m writing to DDC because there’s so many problems with these homes.

“They want to build 200 new houses. That’s probably around 400 extra cars that will be using Byfield Road, and the Fiveways junction in Byfield every day. That road is already overcrowded.

“DDC better hope they’ve got enough money from the developer for a new air ambulance because already it takes too long in emergencies for an ambulance to get you to hospital. This area uses the air ambulance a lot and with more people that will only increase. Then there’s the school places, GP and shops.”

The parish council, which called the meeting, has objected to the plans due to concerns over flooding and traffic. The council also urged people to write to DDC to object to the plans.

A petition against the plans has been started. Copies are available in the village’s Co-op and social club.