Monday, 03 August 2020

Man wants to raise home to prevent it from flooding

Man wants to raise home to prevent it from flooding

A MAN wants to raise his home by more than half a metre to protect it from flooding.

David Robertson has applied for permission from Wokingham Borough Council to lift his property in Loddon Drive using hydraulic jacks.

He also wants to build a two-storey front extension, patio and a detached garage.

The road is at risk of flooding from the nearby River Thames and River Loddon during heavy rainfall and many residents have houses built on stilts to keep them safe.

Mr Robertson bought the plot in 1997 and completed the house in 2003, carrying out much of the work himself.

However, despite building the home on 1.25m piles, he says the Environment Agency now recommends that it is lifted 600mm higher to stay clear of predicted floodwater levels.

At a meeting of Wargrave Parish Council on Monday, Mr Robertson said the site was “derelict and overgrown” when he and his wife bought it but they now plan to make it their permanent home.

He said: “We lived in London and had been coming here for weekends and holidays. In March last year we moved here full time.

“That’s the reason for the application, we are full time here and need a bit more space.”

Mr Robertson says the proposed extension will add two rooms, one on each floor, while he also wants to build a new floor-proof garage which could include a lift for his classic car.

He has taken pre-application planning advice which saw him amend his original plans for the extension and garage, which were in a different location.

A flood risk assessment said that while the house conformed with flood level requirements when it was built, it no longer does. It said: “Lifting the structure will significantly reduce fluvial flood risk to the existing building, and will increase floodplain storage and flood conveyance at the site, thereby reducing flood risk to the site and locality.”

Mr Robertson says floods in 2013 and 2014 almost reached the ground floor of his home and work to lift the home could be undertaken without too much difficulty.

He said: “The flood in 2013 nearly came in to the building. We have discussed with the flood risk people and could raise the building by 600mm, which is a fairly easy job for this type of house.”

Parish councillors backed Mr Robertson’s plans.

Councillor Marion Pope said: “It’s a long site and it sits comfortably within that area. None of the trees have got to be removed and I think it’s a very sympathetic addition. It fits in very well and there are no objections from neighbours.”

A decision will be made by the borough council later this month.

Last month, another resident of Loddon Drive was refused consent to build a new raised house. Gerard Greene wanted to demolish his existing property and build a three-bedroom house on stilts.

But Wokingham Borough Council says the house would be too big for the flood plain.

Mr Greene was the latest in a number of residents who have asked for permission for a raised house to avoid flooding from the nearby River Thames and River Loddon.

A previous application for a replacement dwelling on the site was approved in 2017 but the property was not built. The new house would have been raised above the one-in-100 flood level, with the space below used for car parking and storage.

The parish council recommended the application was approved but the borough council said the development was “unsustainable” due to the extra bedrooms.

In January 2014, houses in Loddon Drive were submerged after the rivers burst their banks.

Although many of the properties had been raised to protect them from flooding, several residents were still forced to evacuate.

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