Thousands take part in Tewkesbury flood plain protest
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Sat Aug 18 22:21:40 BST 2007
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March against flood-plain housing
Residents of one of the worst-hit towns during last month's flooding
crisis have staged a march against any plans to build on flood plains.
Thousands of people walked through Tewkesbury in the rain on Saturday
to urge the government to review its policy on such development.
Organisers wanted to highlight the devastation caused by flooding.
The government has not ruled out using flood plains under plans to
build three million new homes by 2020.
The march began at 1400 BST and a moment's silence was held for those
who lost their lives in the floods.
It does need the government to look at the issue again
Philip Workman Tewkesbury town councillor
Tewkesbury resident Mary Daff, 59, told BBC News that her house had
flooded and she was not expecting to be back in until December.
"There has been a good turnout for the march and the mood is
cheerful," she added.
Hundreds of homes and businesses were damaged in Tewkesbury after the
Rivers Severn and Avon burst their banks in July.
Chuck Pavey, who sits on the town council, said: "Any change has got
to come from the top down.
"Ministers who say we shouldn't rule out building on the flood plain
should come and live here.
"There were over a thousand homes flooded here - many of them brand
new - and some of the businesses will never reopen."
Town councillor Philip Workman added: "We have been through an
absolutely awful time in Tewkesbury.
"Many, many hundreds of people have been flooded out and it is a case
of highlighting the fact that this is a very real problem for us."
The government should think "out of the box" when considering building
on flood plains, he said.
"It is a difficult problem, but it does need the government to look at
the issue again to review its policy on building on flood plains
because it just seems to the average person a nonsensical thing to
do," he added.
In July, Housing Minister Yvette Cooper told MPs no new building
should take place in areas with severe flood risks, although the
government's Housing Green Paper is less definitive.
It says it should be avoided "if better alternatives can be found in
the same area".
Ms Cooper had earlier said some new homes would be built on flood
plains, subject to appropriate flood defences.
A spokesman from the Communities and Local Government department
added: "It is councils who decide whether to give planning permissions
for new housing developments, but we have introduced the strongest
planning rules ever to ensure they properly manage the risk of flooding.
"The new planning rules require councils to consult with the
Environment Agency before allowing new building in flood risk areas."
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/08/18 14:52:05 GMT
5.27PM - THOUSANDS TAKE PART IN FLOODS PROTEST MARCH
Thousands of people have taken part in a march in Tewkesbury to
protest against any plans to build on flood plains.
Residents and politicians braved the rain in the hope of persuading
the Government to review its policy on such developments.
Current policy has not ruled out using flood plains in plans for three
million new homes to be built in the next 13 years.
The march began at 2pm with a minute's silence for the victims of the
For the full story, please see Monday's editions of the
Gloucestershire Echo and the Citizen.
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