How nice it is to see a good old fashioned claim-and-counter-claim argument between the developers of Swindon’s front garden on the one hand and the protesters on the other. From the developers there’s a new report from their consultants that’s being presented with an everything’s fine, don’t worry mate tone (though as the report’s not yet available to the public there’s no way of knowing if this is an accurate interpretation).
Research suggests the worst flooding for 1,000 years could see flood levels reach 39.5cm, but Taylor Wimpey said an extra 20cm safety margin had been included to make sure water does not enter houses, even taking unpredictable climate change into account. Wichelstowe project director David Evans said: “We were always confident that Wichelstowe had been designed to provide a robust protection against flooding and hope the result of this latest study will allay any concerns local people may have had about new homes being flooded in the future.”
Frag chairman Terry King said his trip to the Front Garden site during the July floods proved otherwise. “I went down there and saw lakes where houses are to be built and roads already have been under half a metre of water, so I just don’t believe them…. To start with the developers said there was no risk of flooding. Then they decided to raise the ground, so they have already gone back on their word. I would be interested to see whether, when the houses have been built, owners will be able to insure them.”
As I’ve previously noted, I don’t believe either grouping. Like Mr King, I also went for a walk around after the heavy rain in July and the evidence I saw lies somewhere between the claims of the two sides: the houses may well be dry, but I very much doubt that the access roads will be.