Plans to build 52 new homes by Withycombe Brook could be a step closer to going ahead – after the developer’s flood plans were supported by environmental chiefs.

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The plan to build the homes between St Johns Road, Holland Road and Hadrians Way has sparked concerns that building so close to the brook could cause flooding at the site and downstream – especially after flash floods earlier this summer.

When town councillors considered the plans last month, having previously backed them, they deferred their decision for a flood-risk assessment to be provided, taking into account the recent floods.

Developers Highland Property Development have now published this assessment, and it has been supported by the Environment Agency.

It says that, although parts of the site are classed as medium and high flood risk, the areas where homes will be built are classed as Flood Zone 1, with a low risk of flooding.

The assessment also outlines plans to build attenuation tanks and ponds to reduce the runoff into the brook, preventing further problems downstream.

Despite the Environment Agency’s approval, campaigners against the development, Simon and Alison Foster, have said that the assessment is based on a four-year-old district flood-risk assessment, which does not take into account the problems this summer.

They also say the developer’s plans for attenuation tanks and ponds lack detail.

The plan will also have to overcome previously raised concerns, including the impact on wildlife, increased traffic on St Johns Road, and its departure from East Devon District Council planning policy.

It will now be considered by town planners at a meeting on Monday (August 20), before EDDC makes the final decision.

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