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Floating homes decision pushed back

Last-minute flood-risk information causes adjournment

John Herring

John Herring

john.herring@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

01635 886633

Floating homes decision pushed back

AN inquiry to determine whether ‘floating homes’ can be built in West Berkshire has been postponed. 

West Berkshire Council was set to defend its refusal of Berfield Ltd’s plans to build the 24 Can-Float homes, along with 201 conventional homes, at Theale Lake last month. 

However, the inquiry was postponed on the first day, following last-minute information from the Environment Agency, saying that the conventional homes would be built in a high-risk flood zone. 

The homes were previously thought to be a low-risk zone, but following re-modelling work of the area, the Environment Agency said that it may not be possible for some areas of the scheme to go ahead. 

Planning inspector Christine Downes concluded that an adjournment was necessary in fairness to all parties and the inquiry will resume on January 22 next year.  

Can-Float homes are designed to adapt to changing water levels during periods of flooding, with the developers saying they are an innovative way to increase housing stock in areas usually unsuitable for normal homes.

The scheme also comprised a new vertical lift bridge over the Kennet and Avon Canal, flood alleviation works and new facilities for Burghfield Sailing Club.  

But the council said that it would urbanise the lake and result in the loss of bat and nightingale habitats. 

More than 300 objections were submitted, largely over the impact on local wildlife.

Berfield, a joint venture company owned equally between Larkfleet Group Limited and Floodline Developments Limited, said that the council’s refusal had lost the community around £60m. 

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