VILLAGERS worried about the impact a water park resort proposed near Bicester may have on flooding, quizzed a drainage expert about the project.

The planning appeal hearing for the resort - which was refused by Cherwell District Council last year - has almost come to an end.

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The multi-million pound proposal put forward by US firm Great Wolf Resorts (GWR) includes a 498-room hotel and would sit on an18.6-hectare site in Chesterton.

When the issue of drainage has come up at the hearing, the Inspector has been referring to an' agreed statement of common ground' reached between GWR and Oxfordshire County Council.

This means in effect that the objections that the county council had raised with regards to drainage have been withdrawn.

But due to the concerns of local residents about this, George Baird, the Planning Inspector presiding over the inquiry proposed an additional session for residents to hear about the drainage proposals and to ask questions last Thursday and yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon, Tim Hibbert, chair of Wendlebury Parish Council, Eric Bohm, resident of Weston on the Green and Caroline Twiddy, chair of campaign group Stop the Wolf and PAW (Parishes Against Wolf), all asked drainage expert and chartered engineer Richard Bettridge questions about GWR's plans.

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GWR would have 5,200 cubic metres of water storage on site, but Ms Twiddy emphasised that Chesterton has seen an increase of heavy rainfall events over recent years, giving an example of Storm Alex which hit in October.

She asked for reassurance that the system is effective.

She said: "What confidence do you have in your systems for these new heavier additional rainfall events?"

Mr Bettridge replied: "The storage requirement is a combination of that which comes onto the site and that which can be stored and that which exits the site.

"So in here we've got 5,200 cubic metres of storage but that also relates to a discharge of 30 litres a second and that combination is tested to show that there's no surface flooding on the site.

"The system is optimised so that a number of events are tested and that is effectively the way these things are assessed at planning stage."

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