You may be wondering why I am writing to you about flooding in Spalding when I live 100 miles to the south. Spalding is my hometown and although I left in 1960, I have always kept in touch, have family there and visit regularly.
I was quite surprised by the feature in the February 9 edition of the Spalding Guardian. Not so much by its alarmist nature, but by the fact that a planning application for a new house in the garden of a property in Halmer Gate fell foul of the Environment Agency (EA). To quote the paper: “The EA insists ‘ground’ floor living space of that new house must be 1.8m (5’10”) above the level of the land outside.” I feel sure you have seen it.
The paper quite rightly asked: “How soon could Spalding flood?” The EA responded about ‘many factors’ being at play and said that it was impossible to say. Nevertheless it emphasised that half of Lincolnshire is situated in a flood plain. It was silent as to what form the defences took and whether they were going to sit back and let them become ineffective. Mention was made of climate changes next century.
By contrast, your column on February 14 was optimistic. I fully appreciate that we must avoid building in areas that are known high-risk flood areas. We must ensure that people are going to be safe. However, will the EA insist that the homes planned west of the town have their living quarters 1.8 metres above the ground on the basis of a hypothetical worse scenario?
Is this a case of over-enthusiastic personnel at the EA, or has the world really gone mad?