Wickham residents fear homes to be built in village despite flood risk

Surface water at the junction of Bridge Street and the A32 in Wickham
Surface water at the junction of Bridge Street and the A32 in Wickham

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  • Residents Association say housing should not be built in Wickham due to flooding fears
  • Southern Water are currently developing strategy to combat surface water flooding in area
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FEARS have been raised that a village’s risk of flooding will increase if a council allows more homes to be built there without any improvements to drainage.

Anton Hanney, of the Wickham Residents Association says the group is concerned that a planning inspector’s assessment of a crucial planning document could see further development in the village despite no current solution to its flooding woes.

While we are open to development in Wickham, we must have a strategy in place to counteract the flooding

Anton Hanney of the Wickham Residents Association

Winchester City Council is developing its Local Plan Part 2, which saw planning inspector Nigel Payne support the findings but make recommendations for changes before the document can be adopted.

Southern Water is in the process of developing a drainage area plan (DAP) for Wickham as due to its inadequate drainage system, it is prone to surface water flooding, notably at the lower end of Bridge Street.

While this is being drawn up, the inspector has recommended to change the plan, saying Wickham should be able to take in development without the DAP being fully in place beforehand.

His change of wording saw the first draft of the document – which said that development ‘cannot happen’ until causes of flooding in Wickham are ‘fully understood and a strategy developed’ – changed to ‘it is important that the causes are understood and a strategy is developed.’

Mr Hanney said: ‘The inspector has come down in favour of the developers with this amendment and it is a big concern for us.

‘While we are open to development in Wickham, we must have a strategy in place to counteract the flooding.’

The village is subject to plans for hundreds of homes.

Bewley Homes’ plans for 125 homes off Winchester Road was rejected by the city council, though the developer is set to appeal and an 82-home estate is planned by Croudace Homes off School Road.

Therese Evans, city councillor for Wickham said: ‘We need to have a flooding strategy developed for Wickham and I support the association and share their concerns over in regards to this issue.’

A consultation on the inspector’s modifications to the documents ends on December 12.

Head to winchester.citizenspace.com/policy-and-planning/modifications-lpp2 to have your say.