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Winnersh resident starts petition against new houses amidst flooding

Published: 15 Feb 2014 17:301 comment

A resident has set up a petition against building new homes on the Winnersh floodplain.

Winnersh has been badly affected by flooding, with the garden centre shut.

Clare Skelland, 37, from Chatsworth Park, in Winnersh, is campaigning against an outline application to build up to 433 homes and a primary school on the land at Hatch Farm Dairies.

Winnersh has been particularly affected by the recent flooding, which prompted Mrs Skelland – who has lived in the area for seven years – to start the petition on Saturday.

Already gaining more than 350 signatures, she hopes to reach 1,500 – the amount needed to trigger a special council meeting on the issue.

She added: “I’ve known about the application for a while, but at the weekend I couldn’t get anywhere because of the flooding. I couldn’t even get to the Winnersh Triangle to pick my son up. I thought ‘I’m going to set up a petition’. It’s a disaster waiting to happen if they don’t change anything.”

Wokingham borough councillor Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey, who represents Winnersh ward, said: “I think a meeting to be able to work with developers and residents to come up with the best solution for everyone is a good idea. If we get another rainstorm, how we will cope with more areas full of concrete?”

The proposal to develop the Hatch Farm Dairies site has been ongoing since 2006, when it was submitted by Pegasus Planning Group LLP, on behalf of Persimmon Homes Ltd and Bovis Homes Ltd. It underwent a consultation in 2011, but the final decision has yet to be made.

However, council planning officer Connor Corrigan, confirmed the outline planning application should be approved, if the developers accept the latest conditions set out by the council.

He added a formal decision should be announced in the coming months.

Mrs Skelland, who has three children, said: “I think the situation with the flooding has got worse in the past few years, and that the previous surveys are now out of date.

“We’re dealing with a new situation which is much worse and I can’t see how these houses are going to make the situation better. Logically, they must have an impact as they will be so near the area that’s underwater.

“They need to review it again at least, especially with the weather over the last few years. How many times the Winnersh garden centre has been flooded, I don’t know.”

Winnersh Garden Centre, on Reading Road, was forced to close after severe flooding over the Christmas period. It reopened briefly for a few days, but has been shut again due to continued flooding of the area.

John Leonard, manager of the centre, said: “The garden centre, like many other businesses and residents in the area, is still under a few feet of water and until the bad weather ceases it is hard to say when it will reopen to the public.”

l To sign the petition visit www.petitionbuzz.com/

petitions/notohatchfarmhouses

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