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How Robust is the Warminster Flood Strategy?

(January 08, 2016)

A Warminster town councillor gained the unanimous support of all five local Wiltshire unitary (county) councillors when he asked if the flood strategy for the town is robust enough to deal with the exceptional weather being experienced.

"I am here to ask a question and as I have just three minutes I will not have a long preamble. It is about flooding as we are all aware of the recent years unusual weather," said town Councillor Paul Macdonald last night.

"Is there an up to date Local Flood Risk Management Strategy in place for Warminster and how robust is it to deal with the exceptional weather being experienced?" he said at the local area board meeting of Wiltshire Council.

"Warminster has 1200 properties at risk of surface water flooding.

"In 2013/14 Boreham and Bishopstrow was the third worst flooded area in Wiltshire with 20 properties flooded.

"The Environment Agency advises that due to topography and limited space for development in Warminster a Strategic FRA 2 is required to ensure the flood infrastructure is sufficient and that new developments can be placed safely without increasing risk.

"Without it future planning will not be possible as impacts are unknown."

Environment Agency

Cllr. Macdonald then asked questions about how Wiltshire Council was responding to a government department's demands as he represents a ward where some of the worst flooding in recent years in Wiltshire has occurred.

"The Environment Agency advised during the consultation process for the Neighbourhood Plan that a Strategic Flood Risk Assessment 2 was needed and  recommended additional policy details to protect current population from increased flood risk," added Cllr. Macdonald

"Looking at the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment Level 1 it states Warminster is flood prone and needs a Surface Water Master Plan to manage flood risk.

"Again, does it exist and how up to date is it with all the development going on at the moment and planned in the Core Strategy.

"It is supposed to have a map of the functional floodplain to keep development out of this important defence against flooding which I cannot find at the moment.

"At the moment mitigation work for each planning application seems to remain site specific with no real ‘sequential’ work being done.

"Can the area board make this issue a priority and quickly bring forward a report?"

Chairing the meeting Wiltshire Cllr. Christopher Newbury said he could recall  a similar number of households being flooded in Chitterne and that it was in fact the villages that had suffered the worst.

Councillor Fleur de rhe Phillipe proposed a report bringing all the information together should be produced and it was unanimously passed.

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