Plans for a multi-million-pound flood alleviation scheme in north Reading have sparked controversy.

Community groups, residents and businesses in Caversham set up Campaign for a Better Flood Alleviation Scheme (CABFAS) in January, calling for proposals with more detail and less environmental impact.

The EA’s latest design for the scheme includes a combination of flood walls, embankments and temporary flood barriers.

A consultation in July 2018 found that 55 per cent of respondents did not want any of the flood alleviation schemes to be pursued.

Anke Ueberberg, from CABFAS, said: “There will be some tree felling necessary to put embankments in because they are very wide. That is of great concern to us.

She also raised concern about a 25m wide channel that would cut through the ‘Sandy Park’ playground on Christchurch Meadows, which she believes would then have to be moved.

Ms Ueberberg said she would be protected by the scheme if it came into place but wants ‘more supported evidence’ of its necessity and benefits.

She added: “We want to work with the EA to make this a better scheme and get the public to engage with them about any concerns they have or particular experiences with flooding.”

Spencer Rodd, another member of the campaign, said: “The campaign is asking for clear evidence that the proposals are a necessary, proportionate and appropriate solution to the known and expected problems of flooding in this area.”

North Reading and Lower Caversham have flooded several times in the past, including the major floods of 1947.

Most recently, in 2012 and 2014, homes and businesses in low lying areas of Caversham flooded.

John Patey, who owns the Better Boating Co in Mill Green, said the scheme would cause access issues that would put them out of business and see the area turn into a ‘graffiti artist’s paradise’.

The EA expect the scheme to lower the risk of a major flood in 12 areas along the Thames in north Reading.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “We will ensure that we maintain all existing river access.

“As we develop the scheme we will continue to engage with the community and have been contacted by business owners in Mill Green to discuss their queries in more detail.”

There is a 0.5 per cent chance of a major flood happening every year, according to the EA.

£11 million of funding has been secured from a Government Grant in Aid and Local Levy, while the Thames Regional Flood and Coastal Committee have allocated £5 million toward the scheme.

The Environment Agency maintains rivers and streams and operates weirs and locks in and around the Reading and Caversham area.

The non-governmental public body says this work reduces the flood risk from smaller, more regular floods, but larger scale flooding cannot be reduced by maintenance alone.