Dear Editor

GRAHAM Thompson asked (Letters, July 19) about 30-32 Dollar Street. Consent was granted on 21 December 2015 for conversion into three separate units.

The property developer then obtained consent, (8 June 2018), to build two “cottages”at the rear. While tracking the continually changing CDC website, I noted an Environment Agency letter, advising against the building of houses in this location because it is a designated flood risk area and archaeological site

Our Planners however have deleted this letter but include a 55 page document, written to justify the building of the houses. Stating the site is considered to provide “wider sustainability benefits to the community that outweigh flood risk” and, building in a flood risk area will be “contributing to protecting and enhancing our natural and built environment, helping to improve biodiversity”, they will be “supporting strong, vibrant and healthy communities” and “contributing to building a strong responsive and competitive economy”.

The agent/architect modestly adds their designed new building “improves the historic setting of the listed building, improves the conditions in which people live, work, travel and take leisure and widens the choice of high quality homes”.

In the words of my old English master this report is mostly absolute “tosh”.

In particular when I read that “the houses will also help the local authority meet their targets in providing suitably sized properties”.

Had our planners forgotten to tell him of the Chesterton development?

And,were any of the local Dollar Street residents questioned by Katherine Colby, the report’s author, on what the actual flood risk situation is like? My cellar fills with water in rainy winters and I have to pump it out (as do other properties), I have a well and watch the water table level rise – and it does! I overlook the back of 30-32 and have seen water lying in pools on the waterlogged ground during rainy periods. I could not see any reportage of her investigation of these actual local conditions.

The now deleted Environment Agency letter advised that houses built on this site would not be covered by the Flood Re insurance scheme and may not be acceptable for home insurance, measures introduced to avoid inappropriate development in flood risk areas (this was only mentioned near the end of the Permit Decision Notice).

Surely this is the paramount reason why the building of these proposed new houses must be questioned? Does Cirencester really need two new houses in a flood risk area that will be unable to get adequate insurance?

Are we being best served by our planners? These are issues that need to be addressed.

Bruce Vivash Jones