Flood fears: a wake-up call

Ann Prior s letter (January 28) is a wake-up call to Exmouth. In 1960, Withycombe Brook was responsible for the disastrous flooding of a substantial area of Exmouth. This was due to the brook being unable to cope with storm water surface run-off in the

Ann Prior's letter (January 28) is a wake-up call to Exmouth.

In 1960, Withycombe Brook was responsible for the disastrous flooding of a substantial area of Exmouth. This was due to the brook being unable to cope with storm water surface run-off in the catchment areas upstream - a similar situation to that which caused the infamous Boscastle and Lynmouth disasters.

Since 1960 those same catchment areas have been intensively developed by housing estates stretching from the higher ground in the Brixington/Bystock areas and extending downhill to St John's Road.

This has inevitably increased run-off rate of surface water - an effect which the residents of St John's Road have had to put up with for many years.


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Now there are plans to build a further 81 dwellings on the semi-wooded hillside between St John's Road and the Withycombe Brook. Although the plans include a flood risk study (paid for by the developer), the small print in that study includes many qualifications.

It states that "the assessment of weather generated flooding is inexact", and gives no guarantees that water levels will not exceed those stated in the report. Finally, it states that flooding beyond that estimated in the report may also occur due to climate change.

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Well, hands up, who wants to take a chance on that?

This all adds up to a disaster waiting to happen. Surely East Devon County Council can find a less risky site in order to satisfy the building quotas imposed by regional government. If not, then such quotas must be deemed unsustainable.

Tom Earls,

12 Humphries Park, Exmouth

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