AS Jeffrey Brown’s letter of February 27 illustrates, it is extremely difficult to take the Sainsbury’s proposal to build next to the currently flooded Avon floodplain seriously.

To add to the hilarity the company says its development will actually improve the floodplain. This is being even more audacious than King Canute.

The serious point, however, is that we have all heard this spurious nonsense before at the 1993-4 Salisbury bypass inquiry.

For example, digging ponds in a natural floodplain will not increase flood water storage because in a prolonged period of rainfall in a permeable catchment, such as the Avon’s, river flooding will not take place until all of the surrounding high ground in the catchment has been saturated.

By which time of course the ponds which have been dug in the floodplain will already be full of water and so unable to provide extra flood storage.

The even more serious point is that planning is all about precedent, and when one developer has been permitted to take a large chunk out of the floodplain, there will be nothing to prevent others from following suit, and then there will be no floodplain left.

Malcolm Read, West Grimstead