We have now heard that our claim for judicial review of the Hampden Fields decision is to come before the court on 23 and 24 February. Work to prepare for this is continuing. We will keep you informed
On the proposed ‘Woodlands’ development that adjoins Hampden Fields, we are not alone in having concerns about the risk of flooding.
The site lies on the north side of the A41 and includes an estate of 1,100 houses. The area is on a flood plain, with the Bear Brook, Burcott Brook and Drayton Mead Ditch all flowing through or round it. The developer (basically Buckinghamshire Council itself) therefore has to conduct a detailed and thorough Flood Risk Assessment to test the risks and make sure that houses, roads, and other public areas are safe.
Well, they are now on the fourth go at this piece of vital work. Having worked on it since 2016, they have still not been able to satisfy the Environment Agency that the Assessment is sound. In a recent letter, the EA stated, “In the absence of an acceptable Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) we maintain our objection to this application and recommend that planning permission is refused.”
They went on to say that the FRA did not “adequately assess the flood risks posed by the development.” This, after years to get it right.
Even if the developers find a way to convince the EA and get the assessment approved, the fact that it has taken so long and so much effort to work this out leaves us with a worry about their competence. Flooding is not 100% predictable, as we have seen many times, not least in Weston Turville last year. How safe will Woodlands be? What difficulties might the owners of the 1,100 new properties face in getting their new homes insured? What will be the impact of Woodlands on neighbouring areas including ‘Hampden Fields’ and downstream towards Aylesbury and beyond?
We are, of course, raising this with the planning authority and the Environment Agency.