PLANNERS have insisted a major flood relief scheme that was deemed unaffordable by the Royal Borough will still benefit the affected villages.

A consultation on the River Thames Scheme (RTS), which consists of two channels running between Hythe End and Teddington, has been launched to gather views on the plans as well as the creation of public open spaces and sustainable travel routes.

READ MORE: River Thames flooding relief scheme out for consultation

Channel one, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead’s (RBWM) part of the scheme that would have protected Datchet, Horton, Wraysbury, and Old Windsor from flooding, was removed in 2020 as the scheme was deemed unaffordable by the council.

Other local authorities, such as Surrey, Runnymede, and Spelthorne managed to get funds and opt into the scheme, which was originally estimated to be £640m.

Slough Observer: The two channels that will run through Runnymede and SpelthorneThe two channels that will run through Runnymede and Spelthorne (Image: Newsquest staff)

Despite the Royal Borough no longer taking part in the scheme, planners say they are “still interested” in hearing the views from people in those four villages.

RTS project director Dave Bedlington said: “There is still a flood relief benefit within the Royal Borough from the [River Thames Scheme] and there’s also other benefits like access to green space being close to the Royal Borough.

“For example, places like Hythe End, it will be relatively close to some of the green spaces that we are creating. So, their views are still really important.”

Meanwhile, RTS project director Jeanne Capey said the four RBWM villages “have not been forgotten” as other plans are being looked at.

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The Environment Agency is drafting a new flood relief scheme to protect businesses and properties between Datchet and Hythe End. However, details and timescales are still very much in the air.

Although the Government invested some funds into the RTS, the scheme has been criticised because councils and other public bodies had to fund it as well rather than it being fully costed by the Government.

In response, Ms Capey said because places like Runnymede and RBWM were benefitting from the scheme, they were “expected” to put in a contribution towards it.

“It is applied across the whole country in the same way,” she added. “So, in a way, it is a fair system because it is applied to the whole programme of flood defences.”

Slough Observer: Timeline of the RTSTimeline of the RTS (Image: Newsquest staff)

Once the views are gathered from the public from this non-statutory consultation, RTS planners will draft a number of options that will go out for another survey sometime next year.

From there, the finalised plan will be submitted for a development consent order, which means it will go through rigorous examination periods by the planning inspectorate before it is rubber-stamped by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs.

If things go smoothly, construction could begin in 2026 – with the scheme operational in 2030.

A number of exhibitions will be held, but only one is taking place in RBWM. It will be held at the Wraysbury Village Hall between 1pm and 7pm on Friday, November 25.

The consultation will run until December 20 and can be found here: