Everyone is concerned about plans to put up to 120 homes at The Moors in Ducklington (pictured above: no it's not a lake, someone is planning to put houses there). West Oxfordshire District Councillors from all parties voted against the development. However, in January, a government inspector (appointed by the central government) decided to back an appeal by the developer to overturn that decision. Part of his reasoning involved the inexplicable decision by the Environment Agency to sign off on the development, after the field’s flooding status was mysteriously adjusted (See our 'spot the difference' slideshow outlining the details).
To get into the nitty gritty: In 2010 the Environmental Agency redesignated almost the entire Moors site from Floodzone 3 (severe flood risk, no building permitted) to Floodzone 1, the lowest level of flood risk. However, as per the EA’s own flood data, flooding on the Windrush is increasing both in severity and frequency. I highlighted this flood risk both at the planning committee meeting in March 2022 and at the national inspector’s review in September. However, because the EA currently states that flooding is no longer an issue at the site, the planning committee could not include flooding as a reason for rejecting the application and the inspector ignored the flood concerns on the same grounds.
West Oxfordshire District Council has now challenged the Environmental Agency on its ruling, and asked it to reassess the risk. Allowing housing to proceed on The Moors would put nearly 300 people into harm’s way and it should not be allowed to go ahead.