Flats in Colnbrook approved despite flood concerns

James Bagley, Local Democracy Reporter

Plans to build 24 flats at a site that is ‘centimetres’ in a high flood zone have moved one step closer to fruition.

Developer DKH Investment (Colnbrook) Ltd made outline plans to build 12 one-bed and 12 two-bedroom apartments on land rear of Theale, Old Bath Road, in Colnbrook, near the Poyle Channel.

These were approved by councillors sitting on the planning committee on Wednesday, April 13.

Outline plans mean the developer is seeking to find out if councillors agree with the development in principle before a full planning application is submitted.

Plans to redevelop a former bungalow called Theale into 27 flats, compromising one five-storey block and a four-storey building, were approved in 2020.

The developer wants to fit the 24 flats in two apartment blocks similar in height to the previous ones.

Forty-two car parking spaces on the ground floor and undercroft will be provided. Seven will have electric charging points and six are disabled bays. Cycle parking facilities will also be provided.

Originally, the Environment Agency (EA) told the applicant the site was in a flood zone least likely to flood prior to submission.

However, the EA now says a part of the site is only ‘centimetres’ in flood zone two and three, meaning it has a ‘high chance’ of flooding.

Slough Borough Council planning officers said they had to zoom in very closely to the site where only part of one car parking space is in this high chance of flooding zone.

This now requires the applicant to submit a flood risk assessment on how it will deal with this new problem. The EA said it will object to the scheme if one is not submitted.

Speaking at the meeting, head of planning Daniel Ray said: “When we say it’s in flood zone two and three, we’re talking less than a metre of the site.

“We’re not talking where the buildings or where residential properties are.

“It’s a very small part of a car parking space, not the entire car parking space, that’s actually in flood zone two and three. It’s centimetres.

“It’s not as much of an issue. Do we need to play around with the car parking space in terms of maybe contend with it? Slightly improve the drainage or does it need to be slightly raised up?

“These are solutions that may overcome it. They [the EA] might not even uphold their objection because the building itself is outside the flood zone.”

The outline plans are subject to the developer to agree on funding initiatives, such as financial contribution toward off-site affordable housing and education.

The developer has agreed to provide £50,000 to install a zebra crossing on Old Bath Road for residents to safely access schools, shops, and the nearby bus stop.

A majority of councillors, bar one, approved the scheme.

Elsewhere at the meeting, outline plans to replace three businesses for 99 flats at 277-279 High Street, Slough, were withdrawn by the applicant.

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