Flood fears hit nine-home plan in Binfield

A plan for nine more houses in a new housing estate in Binfield is set to be turned down after proving unpopular with neighbours.

Developer JPP Land Limited has requested the construction of six four-bedroom houses and three three-bedroom houses on land north of Tilehurst Lane in Binfield.

The application was submitted as an addition to a 53-house estate which was refused by the Bracknell Forest Council planning committee but allowed on appeal in September 2019 (planning reference 18/00758/FUL).

But the bid for the additional nine houses proved unpopular with councilors at a planning committee advisory meeting on Thursday November 11.

READ MORE: Housing group slammed for ‘tenant neglect’ in Binfield

A major issue when discussing the plan was more flooding.

Peter Kopik, a neighbor who spoke at the meeting, said Tilehurst Lane was prone to flooding, with water pouring down from the hills to gather at the site.

He feared the area would be flooded with more development, and on his own property in particular.

Mr Kopik said the surface water would render his land “useless”.

He added: “I have lived here for over 30 years and have seen floods almost every year, and the situation is getting worse.

The application site for the nine house plan north of Tilehurst Lane in Binfield. Credit: JI Architects

Binfield Parish Council also recommended denial due to flooding issues and the nature of the development outside the settlement boundaries.

However, planning officer Jo Male, who recommended that the committee approve the plan, said Thames Water had made no objections and that conditions would be attached to the approval requiring the developer to submit details of its drainage system.

In addition, Douglas Bond, agent for JPP Land Ltd, argued that the flooding issues had been resolved after a similar plan for nine houses, application 18/00765/FUL, was refused in 2019 and that an appeal was rejected this year.

Mr Bond said: ‘The council’s flood experts have confirmed that this matter has been dealt with thoroughly in all respects.’

READ MORE: Changes to historic Binfield House are permitted

But advisers were skeptical of these assurances.

Councilor John Harrison (Conservative, Binfield with Warfield) said: ‘I remember recently being criticized by our MPs for supposedly allowing sewage to be dumped into rivers, I think it’s an even more serious.

“We’re talking about the very likely dumping of sewage into people’s gardens and possibly their homes and backing up into their toilets and things like that if we let too much water into the drainage system.

“I’m not at all sold on the solution offered here and quite concerned about drainage going into the sewer system rather than true storm sewers.”

A majority of councilors disapproved of the plan, with 10 votes against and Cllr Chairman Colin Dudley (Conservative, Crown Wood) abstained. Only Vice President Cllr Michael Brossard (Conservative, Central Sandhurst) voted in favour.

The meeting was held in a virtual advisory capacity, which you can view in the Twitter feed below: https://twitter.com/jamesAjourno/status/1458865293166530570

You can view the plan by typing reference 21/00141/FUL into the council planning portal here: https://planapp.bracknell-forest.gov.uk/online-applications/

Because the committee’s decision deviated from Officer Male’s recommendation for approval, the plan will have to be discussed at a physical committee meeting, where it is likely to be denied.

Councils are allowed to hold virtual meetings provided they follow the recommendations and that any decisions made can be delegated to council officials.

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