War is waged on developers who target sites with no flood defence

As crisis worsens, councils say budget cuts have left them exposed to private contracts

Residents today described the “heartbreaking” damage heavy rain wrought on its flood-ravaged streets and homes - as the body of an elderly woman was pulled from a house.

Heavy rain continued to cause chaos across Britain today as anger turned against developers who target vulnerable sites for new housing developments without paying for the necessary flood defences.

As David Cameron visited the worst-affected areas in Devon, local residents complained that developers had won permission to build new homes on sites already at risk of flooding.

Properties in Feniton, East Devon, devastated by flooding in 2008, were once again evacuated as water cascaded from a field where developers Wainhomes have won a controversial ruling to build 50 new homes, despite evidence that new developments can exacerbate local flooding problems.

Roger Giles, Devon County Councillor, said: “Feniton has a long history of flooding and people are angry about this new development. It is on elevated land and the water is cascading down from it like a waterfall.

“Feniton is being targeted by developers but what we really need is the new flood defence scheme. But the cost is estimated at £1.6m and last year East Devon District Council cut its flood defence budget.”

The Planning Inspectorate approved the development, in the face of opposition from village residents and councillors, because the council had failed to meet a new Government obligation to provide suitable building sites to meet local housing needs. Building work is due to commence next month.

Mr Cameron promised to take a “tough approach” on negotiations with insurers over homes in danger of flooding after he met householders in the village of Buckfastleigh, which was struck by flash flooding at the weekend.

Up to 200,000 high-risk properties could be priced out of affordable cover when a deal struck in 2000 between the then Labour government and the Association of British Insurers ends next summer. The Government has been in talks for two years but as yet an agreement has not been reached.

“I’m sure we will do a deal,” Mr Cameron said. “We need to take a tough approach frankly and it’s important insurance companies do what they are meant to, which is provide insurance to households. We are going to make sure that happens.”

Dr Tim Harries, a research fellow in flood risk at Kingston University in London, said developers needed to do more to secure homes against extreme weather events. “They need to elevate homes and provide space below where water can drain,” he said.

Today the body of an elderly woman was found in a flooded home in north Wales and 500 residents forced to evacuate their properties after the River Elwy broke its banks.

Some residents were rescued by lifeboats and a pregnant woman was brought out the window of her property by British Red Cross volunteers.

In nearby Ruthin, residents prepared to flee after Denbighshire County Council warned that up to 400 properties are potentially at risk.

The Environment Agency said 191 flood warnings are in force across the UK, with 960 homes having suffered flooding since last Wednesday.

In North Yorkshire, more than 50 houses in Pickering were under threat whilst officials monitored levels on the River Ouse in York.

The Environment Agency warned that levels in the River Nene in Northamptonshire had “risen significantly” and added that “large, slow responding rivers” – particularly the Thames, Trent and Severn – would continue to rise over the next few days.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Supporting role: at the Supreme Court, Rhodes was accompanied by a famous friend, the actor Benedict Cumberbatch
booksPianist James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to stop the injunction of his memoirs
Sport
Sam Allardyce
sport
Sport
Steven Gerrard scores for Liverpool
sport
Arts and Entertainment
Bob Dylan
art
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?