Wokingham Borough Council could backtrack on its support for a new Aldi supermarket in Winnersh – despite the fact it already approved the plans.

Councillors approved plans to build an Aldi on Gazelle Close just south of Winnersh Triangle in October last year. But now the council could reverse this decision due to flooding risks – with the final ruling set to be made by a government planning inspector.

Council planning officers say: “The application site is within an area of flood risk and has failed to demonstrate that it would not increase the risk of flooding elsewhere.”

Members of Wokingham Borough Council’s planning committee approved the supermarket plans last year despite flood risk warnings by the Environment Agency.

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The agency objected to the plans due to the fact that a large part of the site is a floodplain, and would be at risk if the nearby River Loddon overflows.

But council planning officers said they believed the drainage plans were acceptable. They argued that most of the floodplain will be taken up by the new car park, which the shop will be raised above.

Councillors didn’t question this judgement when they discussed and voted to approve the plans at a planning meeting on December 13 last year.

But the flood risk means the decision now has to be reviewed by a government planning inspector at a hearing in August this year. The final decision will be made by the government minister responsible for councils.

Now Wokingham Borough Council planning officers say new information given to the inspectorate has caused them to change their minds – and they want councillors to do the same.

The Environment Agency has told the inspectorate that the Loddon’s peak flow could increase by 23 per cent due to climate change.

This is higher than what it said in its previous objection, which suggested an increase of 14 per cent, while developers said they had planned for a ‘worst case scenario’ of 20 per cent.

Council planning officers say this means their original decision was correct. But they say the Environment Agency’s new assessment means the council should change its decision. Councillors are being asked to approve this change on Wednesday, May 12.

If the councillors agree, the government’s planning inspector will still hold a hearing in August before making a recommendation to the minister. But the change will mean the council will tell the inspector it now thinks the government should refuse permission.