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Memorial Fields, Thatcham Flood Alleviation Scheme

Have your say

Consultation status Archived
Start date: 2023-06-26
End date: 2023-08-06
Results 2023-09-06
Category: Business and Jobs, Planning and Building, Roads, Transport and Parking

Activity closed. Results published.


Following the devastating floods in 2007, in and around Thatcham, where approximately 1,200 homes were flooded, West Berkshire Council has been working in partnership with several agencies, local stakeholders, and businesses, to ensure that Thatcham is better protected from possible future flooding. We have been working towards a strategic flood risk management solution for the town, and a number of flood storage schemes have been identified that would protect the area from future surface water flood events.

To date, large flood alleviation schemes have been built at Cold Ash Hill, Tull Way, Floral Way and South East Thatcham, protecting 913 properties from the impact of surface water flooding.

Construction of three flood attenuation ponds at Bowling Green Road, Heath Lane and East Thatcham are currently underway with an anticipated completion later in 2023. Once completed, a further 107 properties will be protected from the impact of surface water flooding. 

The aim of the Memorial Fields Scheme is to protect the remaining Thatcham properties which do not currently benefit from the other schemes in the area. Upon completion of the Scheme, a minimum of 73 properties would be at a lower risk of flooding both now and in the future.

What is the scheme?

The Scheme will be located within the Memorial Fields Recreation Ground, Bath Road, Thatcham, RG18 3AG. A 0.85-hectare detention basin and a 120m long swale, will be created to manage surface water flooding by storing water during extreme storms and releasing it slowly back into the Thames Water surface water sewer.

To facilitate the flood detention basin, a bund with maximum 0.2m height will be constructed, and a basin with a maximum 0.9m depth will be excavated in the north-western area of the recreation grounds. The construction of the works will inevitably result in some inconvenience and loss of available open space but we will be working with all parties to try and ensure that recreational activities can continue to take place. On completion the scheme will provide much needed flood protection for the residents of Thatcham.

Icon for pdf Map of completed and current schemes [1MB]

Memorial Fields, Thatcham Flood Alleviation Scheme Map of the area (November 2022)

Detailed drawings of the scheme:

Icon for pdf General arrangement [3MB]

Icon for pdf General Arrangement and Cross Sections [4MB]

Icon for pdf General Arrangement and Key Details [7MB]

Icon for pdf Proposed Landscaping [2MB]

Icon for pdf Overland Flow Routes [5MB]

Icon for pdf Access Arrangement and Tracking - Option 1 [2MB]

Icon for pdf Access Arrangement and Tracking - Option 2 [3MB]

Why we want your views

Your comments are important to us and form part of the public consultation process. We welcome all views on the scheme, so that we can protect the area as effectively as possible.

How to take part

We're holding the following drop-in sessions where the plans and details of the scheme can be viewed, and comments received. You don't need to book, just come along when you can:

Thursday 6 July 20232pm - 8pmPublic Exhibition (Memorial Hall, Thatcham)
Friday 7 July 202311am - 5pmPublic Exhibition (Memorial Hall, Thatcham)
Friday 4 August 202311am - 5pmPublic Exhibition (Memorial Hall, Thatcham)
Saturday 5 August 20239am - 5pmPublic Exhibition (Memorial Hall, Thatcham)


You can also comment using our online form, by email to or by post to Memorial Fields, Thatcham Flood Alleviation Scheme Engagement, Transport and Countryside, West Berkshire Council Offices, Market Street, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 5LD by midnight on Sunday, 6 August 2023.

What happens next

All comments will be considered and used to create the final design and a planning application will be submitted in autumn 2023.

What you told us

We received 53 responses to the consultation, and of these 15 stated they were against the proposals and 13 were in favour. The other comments related to specific issues rather than being positively for or against the scheme. 

The main concerns expressed, and our responses are as follows:

  • Loss of dog exercise area.
    Our response: The proposed scheme will result in the loss of the existing dog exercise area. The Council are working with Thatcham Town Council to either relocate the existing facility on the site or re-locate it elsewhere in Thatcham. Ultimately, this will be the decision of Thatcham Town Council.

  • Loss of Memorial Hall facility during the works.
    Our response: The Memorial Hall will remain open throughout the works, as will the Thatcham Bowls Club and the Scout/Brownie Hut.

  • Loss of amenity area for events such as the car-boot, fair.
    Our response: During construction, there will be an inevitable loss of usable space for events. The Memorial Trust are aware of the implications of the scheme both during construction and post construction.

  • Access to the site and the potential loss of tennis courts on the site.
    Our response: A number of options have been considered, namely from the north (via the Poets estate) and also directly off the A4. Given the large machinery necessary to construct the works, it is not feasible or safe to use residential roads with such a high volume of on street parking and therefore this has been ruled out. Access will need to be directly off the A4. Again, two options have been considered, through Thatcham Cricket Club entrance and through the existing tennis courts. The offer to potentially use the cricket club entrance has now been retracted by the club. This means that the most practical and safe entrance to the site will be through the tennis courts. Unfortunately, this will result in the loss of one of the courts. We were asked to look at whether concessions could be given to members to use of the tennis courts at Henwick, but these are currently not in a usable state.

  • Loss of children’s play area (behind the tennis courts).
    Our response:
    The proposed site access across the tennis courts will affect the children’s play area, but only the swings. These would need to be removed during the work and reinstated on completion. The rest of the play area will still be accessible.

  • Deep water in the basin, provision of life saving equipment.
    Our response: The basin will only retain water during extreme storm events and will remain dry most of the time. Flood water will only remain in a small area of the lower basin for a few hours in the worst-case climate change scenario. The basin will have gradual side slopes allowing for site users to safely exit the basin. Fencing off the area would mean the loss of a large portion of the field which would mean a loss of amenity for the users of the field. In line with current guidance, water below a depth of 1.5m deep does not require the provision of life buoys and the provision of unnecessary Public Rescue Equipment could lead to vandalism and misuse.

  • Landscaping proposals.
    Our response: The landscaping plan was an initial draft with indicative hedgerow planting show, new planting will be set at an appropriate distance from property boundaries. The new footpath allows for the field to be used for sports activities/football as well as dog walkers.

  • Area never flooded.
    Our response: The memorial field is affected by surface water flooding and the surrounding area has also historically been affected by sewer flooding, the flood alleviation scheme helps prevent and reduce flooding from both sources. Due to the effects of climate change/increased urbanisation, flood events will become more frequent in the future and the scheme acts as a preventative measure for the increase in frequency of flooding.

What we did

We have taken all feedback into consideration and used this information to inform the final design, which you’ll be able to view along with and planning application online by the end of September 2023

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