A DEVELOPMENT of three new homes in Winterslow has been given the go-ahead, despite fears it could make existing flood problems worse.

The plan for houses on waste ground off Woodland Drive has raised concerns among residents and the parish council with regard to the increased strain on drainage in an area that is already prone to flooding.

Cllr Chris Devine, who represents Winterslow on Wiltshire Council, told the southern area planning committee on Thursday that the area has “massive flood problems”.

“There has been a great deal of concern within Winterslow about this project,” he said. “If this were just an ordinary, unused plot of land, I would have no problem with it whatsoever. But this is not an ordinary piece of land. It is criss-crossed with surface water flood drains, sewerage works and underground drains.”

He said a natural spring nearby means water flows towards the site under the ground and that it is a natural drainage area.

“If you build there,” he said, “you do two things; you build houses that are going to get flooded and you exacerbate flooding in the rest of the village.”

But the applicant, James Sharp, told the committee a detailed survey of the site has been undertaken and that adequate drainage will safeguard the homes, and even improve the situation for neighbouring dwellings.

Cllr Mike Hewitt, who is chairman of the flood working group looking at problems in the village, said: “Winterslow is a sponge. Last time we got full of water and it ran out, it flooded Pitton, three miles away.”

But he added that he was not against the development provided conditions were attached to planning permission to ensure a detailed drainage scheme was provided before any work was started and that experts were satisfied the scheme would not exacerbate the existing situation.

Committee chairman Fred Westmoreland said he would be reluctant to refuse an application when the council’s own drainage experts had reported they would be satisfied for it to proceed as long as drainage was adequate.

“We can’t use a particular application to try to solve a problem that is already there,” he said. “To hit these developers with a stick because Winterslow is a sponge and you need wellies does not, to me, seem reasonable.

“However, it is reasonable to expect them not to make it worse.”

The committee approved the application subject to conditions recommended by officers regarding drainage.