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Controversial flood defence plans agreed
7:30am Friday 8th March 2013 in News
CONTROVERSIAL flood defence plans have been agreed to protect Chelmsford from rising water levels.
Members of Chelmsford Council’s planning committee passed the proposals for two embankments to be constructed in The Tye, Margaretting, which aim to stop the city from flooding.
However, the plans submitted by the Environment Agency have caused anger with nearby residents.
They fear the structure will ruin the appearance of the area and lorries travelling on the Grade II listed Swan Lane for construction site access will damage it.
Residents were supported at the planning meeting, held in Christ Church United Reformed Church, by South Hanningfield, Stock and Margaretting councillor Ian Grundy.
The Conservative councillor said: “What we find so difficult to understand with the plans is that there isn’t a better solution to this problem and this is what still irks so many of us.
“With Swan Lane, I accept access is a problem and this is the only way of getting to the site.
“But restoration of the lane is clearly going to be key, so I would like to see if some sort of bond could be used in the event that it is not restored to its proper condition.”
Margaret Morley, who lives near where the defences will be put, said she and many others feel they are unnecessary and only being made to help make the city more attractive to developers.
She said: “We have had record levels of rainfall, but Chelmsford has not flooded apart from on the flood plains which are designed to carry flood water.
“Is this scheme really needed? Has every avenue really been investigated?”
Council leader Roy Whitehead, who also represents South Hanningfield, Stock and Margaretting, said the plans were going to protect Chelmsford.
He added: “People will say even with the recent heavy rain Chelmsford didn’t flood, so why do we need these defences?
“I personally hope the defences don’t get used, but we are a council trying to do something to protect the homes of the people in Chelmsford.
“We are increasing the protection to protect the future threat to our city.”