Majority need to think of minority

I WAS perplexed regarding some of the comments of Mr Fenemore’s following the extensive flood of his farmland (Banbury Guardian, January 3), particularly as he makes reference to the new Flood Alleviation Scheme.

As a representative of residents living adjacent to the Cherwell, I think it is fair to say that the money invested in the scheme is value for money.

Given that the Thames Valley and South East had record levels of rainfall in 2012 (126 per cent above the average) after a dry spring, I think a more positive approach on the part of Mr Fenemore would be to make common cause with all those living on or near flood plains.

Residents who will have monitored the Environment Agency and Met Office forecasts every time depressions move in from the Atlantic and watch the Cherwell rise more than likely live on lower land.

The 95 per cent who may feel they are unlikely to be affected however also need to consider the wider planning, policy and environment issues, on which I am sure Mr Fenemore and the farming community will have much to say.

However, above all the case needs to be made for national and local government and associated agencies putting the common good first, yes putting money forward even if that comes from residents living away from the Cherwell or any other flood plains.

Councillor Andrew Beere


Banbury Grimsbury and Castle Ward

Flood scheme has penalties

OF COURSE the bund will help protect lower parts of Banbury from flooding, but it comes with penalties.

Land owners upstream of the bund either had their land taken by compulsory purchase or were compensated for the diminished farming use.

However, as I anticipated there is far more land being inundated than what the consultants predicted.

I could illustrate several other situations locally where consultants have got it completely wrong but still walk off with colossal fees.

It was assumed by the experts that land above Slat Mill would not be affected but how wrong they have been. I once farmed much of that land and around 40 years ago Slat Mill sluice and race were taken out and until December 2012 there have only been slight floods.

Within weeks of the new bund being opened Slat Mill Meadow, Mill Meadow, Long Meadow, River Meadow, The Holt & Loveday’s Meadow have been seriously flooded on three occasions. We have had very heavy rainfall but nothing to compare with that of 1998 and 2007 when these fields were not so affected.

Further developments in the flood plains should be restricted for they will only create more problems.

Development should only be permitted above the flood plain and then sudden run off could be better managed by the use of balancing ponds etc, where such downpours are arrested and only gradually released.

It is difficult to achieve this without causing further drainage problems when developments take place in the valley bottom.

As it is rain falling on developed land hits the rivers in minutes and they are overwhelmed. Surely developments that take place in high risk flood areas should carry a guarantee of being fit for purpose whereby if such homes are flooded within the first 25 years, the developers should be liable for any compensation. At the moment they just ride off into the sunset with not a care.

Currently there are proposals for large scale developments either side of the Southam and Warwick roads immediately north of Banbury.

None of this land falls within the catchment of the bund so if such developments do take place, serious thought will have to be given as to how surface water will be managed.

Brian P Cannon

Great Bourton

More letters in this week’s Banbury Guardian.