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Flood risk conditions could be compulsory for housing
HOUSING development plans could be vetoed for the first time if they do not include an adequate flood prevention scheme.
Oxfordshire County Council must put together a flood risk strategy, setting out how the authority plans to reduce the likelihood of flooding.
Now it is proposing that developers wanting to build 10 homes or more will have to submit sustainable drainage plans, which must be approved before work can start.
Rodney Rose, the deputy leader of the county council, said some builders, such as those behind the Kingsmere development in Bicester, have already introduced the type of measures he wants to encourage.
And he said that, with more than 100,000 homes needed in Oxfordshire by 2031, these systems would become more important than ever.
He said: “This is an example of what sustainable drainage systems should be, rather than putting the water into pipes and sending it to Reading or London.
“It means the water is being dealt with on site, the ground is absorbing it and some of it will be evaporating.
“This will absolutely become more and more of an issue – 100,000 homes is an awful lot of concrete and if nothing is done the water will just run off.”
On Tuesday the county council’s cabinet will discuss the proposed strategy before it goes out for public consultation.
The council is proposing to encourage sustainable drainage systems, such as ponds and swales, to reduce a development’s impact on flooding.
District councils can grant the planning permission, even if the development does not comply with the county council’s strategy.
However developers cannot physically enact that planning permission until the county council has given its approval to the drainage proposals.
Andrew Carrington, the strategic land director for Countryside Properties, the company behind the Kingsmere development, said: “We believe that designing these elements into the landscaping and open space helps create a drainage solution which is not only sustainable, but is also attractive to residents and helps enhance the bio-diversity of the site.”
The flood risk strategy will also include plans to encourage so-called “riparian landowners” – or people who own land which meets a stream or river – to help the county council to tackle the issue.
It will also encourage a community approach, with individual parishes to have their own plans relating to flooding.
Peter Rawcliffe, of Oxford Flood Alliance, said: “Anything that will improve the flow of water off the land has got to be a good thing because it avoids overloading ditches, drains and subsequently rivers.”
Under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, Oxfordshire County Council is obliged to create a flood risk strategy.
The county council’s cabinet will meet on Tuesday, at 2pm, in County Hall, to discuss the flood risk strategy and approve the draft version which will go out for public consultation.
If approved, the strategy will come into force in October.
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