More assurances needed over Emsworth flood defence plans

Flooding in Emsworth last winter
Flooding in Emsworth last winter
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QUESTIONS remain over whether a 125-home development will offer the flood protection for Emsworth that was promised.

Councillors at Havant Borough Council approved an outline application for 125 homes on farmland west of Horndean Road and south of Southleigh Road.

The development includes creating a wetland area along the West Brook – a stream that can overflow and flood houses.

The Environment Agency is happy with what is currently proposed, provided strict conditions are met.

But Charles Ashe, from Emsworth Residents’ Association, told the committee that an independent flood risk report commissioned by a resident had indicated there could be defects in the plan being proposed.

He said: ‘The works will create flooding, not reduce the risk.’

Emsworth Cllr Brendan Gibb-Gray said: ‘Emsworth has flooded three times in the last two years.

‘Houses have flooded and everyone knows that is most of our worst fears.

‘Will the development add significant protection to assist homes in Horndean Road, the site itself and reduce the risk of flooding further downstream in Emsworth? At the moment, that’s a very open question.’

Cllr Richard Brown, who sits on the committee, was worried about the proposed access roads.

He said: ‘Having an entrance like that on Southleigh Road which is a 40mph limit just smacks of danger to me.’

Cllr David Keast was concerned there was no access for pedestrians or cyclists to the south of the site.

The committee heard land is available to accommodate this, but the landowner is not known.

He said: ‘It’s a very important link and it’s going to save a heck of a lot of journeys. I am hoping someone will try and find out who owns the land.’

Cllr David Guest said: ‘There’s no way this site will get developed unless there is a full and adequate provision for flood prevention, not only on the site, but at all points down the stream – that would be disastrous.’

The committee agreed that the concerns could be ironed out as developers work up a detailed planning application. The outline plans were approved by five votes, with Cllr Brown abstaining.