Building Homes On Flood Plains 'To Be Blocked'
Developers could be blocked from building homes on flood plains under a shake-up of planning law due to be revealed today.
Planning minister Nick Boles is expected to announce changes that will mean councils are no longer forced to take other local authorities' housing allocations if it conflicts with national policy.
That would mean less pressure to build on flood plains for planners, who have long been expected to help town halls meet house-building targets.
Many hope the new guidelines will also ensure experts' advice plays a greater role in the planning process.
Among the areas worst-hit by recent flooding was Longford, near Gloucester, where David Cameron told residents in February that expert advice was always followed during the planning process.
Environment Agency figures given to Sky News show that is not always the case.
In 2012-13, applications for 560 residential properties across England and Wales were approved in areas of flood risk, against the agency's advice.
A total of 570 new homes are planned, to be built near land in Longford that has been underwater for the past few weeks.
The scheme was vehemently opposed by local residents and initially rejected, before being approved on appeal in 2008.
Longford Parish Council chairman Pete Gough told Sky News: "We thought it was a lot of nonsense, really.
"We thought the Secretary of State would have intervened, and said there's lots of places you can build without building on the flood plains, or near the flood plains. It just seems so daft."
One of the main concerns of residents is not that the new properties will flood, but that by replacing fields with concrete it will create problems for other homes.
John Patterson's home in Longford flooded in 2007, and only avoided a similar fate this year by a few inches.
He told Sky News: "The water has to go somewhere. You'll get extra run off from the houses, and all the roads and infrastructure that goes with them. It's illogical, just illogical."
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is also expected to make an announcement today about the recent flooding.
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