After several years’ hard work, King's Sutton Flood Alleviation Group has recently secured the finance needed to build an effective, long-term flood alleviation scheme on land to the north of Windsor Close. (Click here for the story.) However, members of the group have been made aware over the past few days of a "survey" being conducted by people who are attempting to persuade village residents that this new scheme won’t last.
Using phone-based and door-to-door interviews, NEMS Market Research of Billingham initially asks residents to answer questions on some of the general issues affecting life in the village. The person conducting the interview then states that the flood alleviation scheme planned for Windsor Close will last only 25 years and asks residents how they would feel about a scheme that lasted indefinitely.
It is not known which organisation has commissioned this survey of local opinion from NEMS Market Research and the company’s representatives refuse to say. However, the only people who have ever argued that there is a 25-year limit to the life of the agreed flood alleviation scheme are those connected with Barwood Homes, the developer whose planning application for a new housing estate on the same land is soon to be considered by South Northants Council.
The Flood Alleviation Group wishes to make it absolutely clear that the current Windsor Close Scheme meets all the requirements of the Environment Agency (which is a co-funder) in full. It has been designed to protect residents of Windsor Close, Banbury Lane and Barton Terrace from the surface water flooding that has blighted their lives for many years. (Work on the agreed scheme is due to start this spring.) Any suggestion that the alternative flood alleviation measures contained in the Barwood Homes plan would be more permanent is incorrect. Barwood claims that it may be able to provide slightly more storage for flood water on its site. This may be possible but the Flood Alleviation Group has not seen sufficient detail to comment. The Parish Council has signed an agreement with the landowners (together with South Northamptonshire Council) to provide certain maintenance on the flood alleviation scheme for a period of 25 years and is ready to undertake this responsibility as soon as construction work is complete.
Note also that a group of concerned village residents has also been calling door-to-door to collect signatures for a petition opposing the proposed Barwood Homes development. These people will be only too happy to make their identities clear to anyone who asks.