FLOODING problems in Emsworth could be eased by a controversial housing development, it has been suggested.
Barratt Homes has put forward a second proposal for a field between Selangor Avenue, Emsworth and the A27.
Barratt wants to build 130 homes – reduced from 180 – on a site already ruled out for housing in Havant Borough Council’s homes allocations plan consultation.
It is holding a development consultation next week – the third public consultation on the site – and says it will push for the council to incorporate it into the local plan for housing.
There are fears over the loss of the green gap which separates Havant from Emsworth and the risk of flooding.
But Councillor Brendan Gibb-Gray, who represents the town, said developers could be asked to help fund the Environment Agency’s £1m plan for three flood storage sites in Emsworth. He added: ‘It looks a better development but, of course, though there are still some major objections.
‘What people are concerned about is flooding. Selangor is a better site and can handle flooding better than the other preferred sites that have been chosen.
‘The Environment Agency wants to create an area to the north, around the A27, which they say will hold water that comes off the hills and control its emission into the sea.
‘They have £600,000 but there is a funding gap. Could that be met by developers?’
Flood storage sites could dramatically reduce the chance of flooding, said Ian Miller, technical advisor at the Environment Agency.
He said the agency would be looking at all sources of funding, including developer contributions, but added that, ideally, it would not want to hang around to see if the development went ahead.
He said he hoped work would begin within the next 18 months.
Lorraine Clode, chairman of the Emsworth Residents Association (ERA) and the Flood Action Group, said views on the development were split. She said: ‘It is difficult for the ERA to take a position on because of the divide. It is in a gap and we would prefer houses were built in other areas.’
But she added: ‘It makes sense for the developers to speak to the Environment Agency to see if needs could be met through one solution rather than both organisations spending separately.’
The development consultation forum is at 6pm on December 5, at Havant Borough Council.