Wetland area mooted to help stop floods in Emsworth

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A WETLAND area for wildlife is being proposed as one of the solutions to Emsworth’s flooding problems.

More than 50 people turned out to The Plaza last night to hear developers present plans for 140 homes and a flood alleviation scheme for 12 acres of farmland off Horndean Road.

But residents and councillors spoke of their serious concerns, including extra traffic, safety, and loss of the green gap between Havant and Emsworth.

Planning consultants from Bidwells, on behalf of the landowner, have devised a plan to create a wetland to the west of the development that would incorporate the existing West Brook.

During storms it would fill an area up to a depth of half a metre. Houses would be built on raised land to avoid flooding.

But Emsworth Cllr Brendan Gibb-Gray questioned whether this flood scheme was needed at all but for the development.

Other flood schemes are also in the pipeline.

He said: ‘What you have actually come forward with is a flood treatment scheme for your site. It’s not quite what we expected.’

But consultant Glenn Charles said the wetland’s capacity far exceeded what was required just for this development.

Resident John Kieran said the houses should be reduced to 110 – as was originally mooted.

He said Horndean Road was often abused by speeders. He added: ‘We dread the addition of perhaps another 250 cars.’

Peter Tier, chairman of Emsworth Residents’ Association, stressed that residents wanted the ‘best possible’ flood alleviation scheme and implored all developers and agencies in the area to work together to produce it.

Cllr Faith Ponsonby was concerned the green gap was ‘shrinking and shrinking’.

Cllr Richard Galloway suggested that a roundabout at the junction of Horndean Road and Southleigh Road could solve safety issues.

Andrew Blackwell, a planning consultant, said: ‘It’s an opportunity to make a significant contribution to the flood alleviation scheme for the town.’

A planning application is expected to be submitted at the end of January.

After the meeting there was anger that a legal agreement – signed in 1992 to protect the green gap – could be altered to allow this development.

Tessa Young, from Horndean Road, said: ‘I thought an Englishman’s word was his bond.’