Thousands take part in Tewkesbury flood plain protest

Tony Gosling tony at
Sat Aug 18 22:04:48 BST 2007

Thousands take part in Tewkesbury flood plain protest

INCLUDING Intl. Economic meltdown briefings

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."

'Better alternatives'

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

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 July
For the full story, please see Monday's editions of the Gloucestershire
Echo and the Citizen.


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