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Submerged village questions proposed flood defence scheme
RESIDENTS in one of the worst-hit villages during this year’s devastating floods have questioned whether a new multi-million pound flood defence scheme to protect Marlow should be allowed to go ahead.
Nearly half of the properties in Medmenham’s flood plain – some 23 homes - were affected during the worst floods in a generation, with lifelong residents claiming conditions were the worst in over 65 years.
During February’s peak, dangerously fast-flowing water flowing through the small Thameside village was close to a metre deep with the south end completely cut off.
Last week, residents downstream in Marlow issued a rallying cry for residents to sign a petition calling for the Environment Agency’s (EA) long-awaited flood defence scheme to finally get underway.
But Medmenham Parish Council fears that with an "under-prediction" of flooding from the EA, the scheme might actually make matters worse for surrounding villages and that scarce funding should be carefully used.
Resident and parish councillor Keiran Millard, who co-authored a comprehensive report into the 2014 flooding in his village said: "The problem is we just do not know what it may do. We have highlighted an under-prediction of how bad the floods are and will be.
"Therefore the assessment that was done (for the scheme) is potentially flawed. We are not against it in principle but we have to look at how it will affect us as well as other villages like Hurley and Bisham.
"Also, if all the money is allocated to Marlow then there will be nothing left for smaller villages which are as badly affected. The percentage of the community affected it is far greater in Medmenham.
He added: "We are very sorry about what happened in Marlow but it is not the only place that it happened and the risk to life here was also far greater."
Mr Millard added that residents are fully aware of the risks of living in the flood plain village, but that this should not mean they do not receive the same support as other affected areas.
Last week, the family of a couple evacuated from their home in Pound Lane in Marlow launched the ‘Fight the Floods’ petition to find the remaining funding for the potential EA flood protection scheme for the town.
The £8.5m plans, given planning permission in 2010, include constructing flood walls, bunds, and groundwater pumping wells at Pound Lane, Lower Pound Lane, Gossmore Lane and Firview Close.
But the scheme, which would protect an estimated 287 homes in the town centre, would not offer any protection to villages upstream.
EA spokesman Joe Giacomelli said: "The Environment Agency has developed detailed plans for a proposed flood alleviation scheme to protect parts of Marlow from flooding from both the River Thames and groundwater to 287 properties.
He added: "We believe what we are proposing for Marlow is the most effective solution for reducing long term flood risk to the local community. "We would not consider proposing any scheme that would exacerbate the risk of flooding elsewhere in the district."
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