CASEBOOK: Appeal cases - Housing: New build - Homes judged at risk from regular flood threat

The redevelopment of three properties adjacent to the River Thames in Berkshire to allow the construction of 50 flats has been turned down due to Environment Agency predictions that the land was likely to flood in one year out of every five.

The agency had produced a flood model of the river that it used to predict the likely occurrence of different sites flooding. It concluded that the site would flood once on average every five years, with one-in-100-year events leading to flood levels of more than 80cm.

In contrast, the appellant had relied on a different model based on flow records from a station 35km upstream from the site and applied information contained in a flood estimation handbook. Using this approach, it claimed that the site would flood only once every 40 years or possibly even less frequently. On this basis it argued that redevelopment of the site would not give rise to unacceptable flood risks.

The inspector decided that the model used by the Environment Agency was to be preferred because it was site-specific and had regard to local information. On this basis, he accepted that the site could flood once every five years and this would potentially present a risk to the properties and to the occupiers of the flats.

DCS No: 31602534; Inspector: Mike Hillyer; Hearing.

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