THE future of plans to protect 1,500 homes from flooding in Heybridge is in doubt after a developer backtracked on proposals.

Countryside Properties was granted permission in 2016 to build the North Heybridge Garden Suburb comprising 1,100 new homes.

Permission had been given to build the homes subject to a new flood alleviation scheme being built.

But Countryside Properties now plans to scrap the flooding scheme after it was revealed it would cost more than £11 million.

Instead the developer will bring forward new drainage plans saying it is “possible to deliver the garden suburb without the flood alleviation scheme”.

Due to the cost of sorting out flooding problems the developer had only been asked to provide 15.5 per cent affordable housing instead of the normal 40 per cent.

But after removing the flood scheme Countryside Properties will provide up to 30 per cent affordable housing.

Andrew Carrington, managing director, Strategic Land at Countryside, said: “Ongoing uncertainty surrounding the flood alleviation scheme has significantly delayed the delivery of new homes at Heybridge North Garden Suburb.

“We believe our amended proposals, which are in accordance with the Local Development Plan, will create a better place, with more affordable housing, increased green space, faster build out rates and importantly will provide greater certainty on the delivery of new homes and community facilities.”

Earlier this year Maldon District Council was handed a £7.3 million cash pot by central Government to help progress the project.

But the plans stalled when the Environment Agency did not agree to take on the flooding scheme after it was completed.

The U-turn by Countryside Properties has raised questions over what will happen to the cash awarded by the Government.

The developer has said it will be possible for the council and the Environment Agency to pursue the flooding scheme in the future.

A spokesman for Maldon District Council said: “The council, whilst disappointed that the original proposed scheme is not progressing, will continue to work with all partners to ensure that the new scheme is fit for purpose in mitigating the new development and seek to maximise the improvements to existing conditions.”