Plans for a new Aldi in Winnersh have lost the support of Wokingham Borough Council over flooding fears.

Councillors first voted to approve planning permission for the Aldi on Gazelle Close in December last year – despite the fact that some of the site is a floodplain.

But they decided to withdraw their support on Wednesday, June 12 after new information on flooding risks from the Environment Agency caused flooding officers to reconsider.

Planning officer Mark Croucher told the council’s planning committee: “This is a somewhat unique set of circumstances.”

He said because the site is on a floodplain the government had decided it would have the final say on whether to approve the plans by holding an inquiry by the planning inspectorate.

He said the Environmental Agency had submitted evidence suggesting there was an increased risk of flooding from the nearby river Loddon due to climate change.

Officers also said they now believe the new Aldi’s drainage systems would be inadequate.

The Environment Agency objected to the plans when they were first approved by councillors last year, saying the site was at risk if the 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 discuss this when they voted to approve the plans at a planning meeting on December 13 last year.

But since then the Environment Agency has told the government’s planning 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 – causing council planning officers to reassess their own decision.

Councillors voted to follow the new recommendation at a planning committee meeting on Wednesday. But councillor Wayne Smith said the risk ‘should have been picked up before, so we shouldn’t be in this position.’

And councillor Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey questioned whether the site was really at risk of flooding.

She told the meeting: “I have lived in Winnersh for 17 years and that particular site has never flooded in 17 years.

“There are two office buildings at the end of that site also and neither one of them have flooded either.”

The final decision is now set to be made by the government’s planning inspector in August. This is because the plans were ‘called in’ to be decided by the secretary of state for planning following the council’s previous approval due to the fact the site is on a floodplain.

The council’s new decision means it will now tell the inspector it opposes the plans despite having previously approved them.