The Environmental Agency (EA) will take more time to devise flood defence proposals after hundreds signed a petition opposing the north Reading scheme.

Latest designs for the multi-million-pound flood alleviation scheme in north Reading includes a combination of flood walls, embankments and temporary flood barriers.

A petition from campaigner Paul Goddard received 430 signatures and was discussed at nReading Borough Council’s (RBC) Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport (SEPT) committee on Tuesday (July 9).

Councillor Adele Barnett-Ward, acting chairman of SEPT, said: “The EA are no longer aiming for a spring deadline and have said they will take the time to ensure that what they bring forward is the right scheme for Caversham and Reading as a whole.

“It’s possible that they might manage that by the spring but seems unlikely.”

She also clarified that the council would not fund the project except possibly through ‘payment in kind’ such as waiving planning fees.

Mr Goddard said the plans will ‘destroy’ the ‘Sandy Park’, a play area in Christchurch Meadows, and be a ‘significant safety hazard’ to children playing in the area.

He said hedges and trees are under threat from four to 5km walls and hit out at the loss of trees under the plans.

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

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An EA spokesman said: “We are working to reduce flood risk to people and properties in north Reading and Caversham.

“The proposals would reduce the impact of flooding to hundreds of properties as well as preventing disruption to local roads and infrastructure.

“We continue to welcome comments from the community on our proposals.”

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

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

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.

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

Further information on the proposed scheme is available here,