South Oxfordshire District Council who were due to refuse the latest drainage proposals for Thames Farm which would see the surface water from the site piped along the Reading Road down to Jubilee Park (next to Tesco) have confirmed yesterday that the discharge condition on the planning application has been withdrawn by Taylor Wimpey.
Taylor Wimpey originally planned to drain the surface water through soakaways in the site but in early 2019 they discovered the chalk bedrock was prone to developing sink holes and suffered from major underground dissolution features and so this wasn’t feasible. They now are proposing to fill the ground with grouting to stabilise it which could cause problems to the nearby drinking water supply as the aquifers serving the bore hole runs immediately beneath the site.
SODC and OCC commissioned their own report from McCloy Consulting (Water & Environment Consultants) who reported that there were missing evidence and calculations in the Enzygo report commissioned by Taylor Wimpey for overland flows which will enter the proposed site and how this will be managed. There was also no modelling in the previous report by Enzygo for pump failure or an increase in magnitude or frequency of rainfalls nor the effects of the proposed grouting works to the run-off calculations undertaken and in relation to flood risks of the watercourse. The report also states that the proposal does not meet the South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2035 Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) – the need to manage surface water as close to the source as possible, mimicking surface water flows arising from a site prior to the proposed development. It does not currently demonstrate adequately to the satisfaction of the LLFA (Lead Local Flood Authority) that surface water (pluvial) flood risk has been properly considered.
A Taylor Wimpey spokesperson said: “Following discussions with South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) and Oxfordshire County Council (OCC), we have decided to withdraw our revised drainage strategy. We are reviewing the feedback we have received on our application and will continue to work closely with both councils and Thames Water as we prepare to resubmit an updated drainage strategy in due course.”