Families face being out of their homes for Christmas after floods swept the Midlands.

The heavy rain which sparked the crisis also renewed the debate about the construction of properties close to areas at risk of flooding.

And it came as insurers and the Government tried to thrash out a deal to enable those living in flood-prone areas to continue to receive insurance.

Around 200,000 households are awaiting the outcome of talks on renewing the agreement – due to expire next June – which obliges companies to cover high-risk properties in return for the improvement of flood defences.

In Shirley, Solihull, residents warned that 200 properties planned for the Aqueduct Road area, which was submerged in inches of murky water last weekend, would only make things worse.

Paul Chambers, spokesman for a campaign group against the plans, said: “The land floods. Where will the water go if it is built on? It will be like a swimming pool.

“As it is, there were sandbags out at the weekend.”

In nearby Dickens Heath, residents were forced out as up to 8ft of water flooded fields near Griffin Lane.

Work on a Taylor Wimpey development of 23 homes is due to start on the fields next spring.

One of the displaced residents, 36-year-old Duncan Kellett, said his family faced spending Christmas elsewhere after water gushed through their ground floor apartment in Griffin Lane last Sunday.

“There was a near-flood on the previous Wednesday but thankfully the management team stayed long into the night pumping the water away,” he said.

“Without them we would have been in 5ft of water. But on Sunday the water came up to just over the first floor windows. It was about four inches flowing through the apartment all day.

“All our furniture is ruined.

“My children couldn’t go to school because they had no uniforms. It’s unfortunate so close to Christmas because my kids won’t be at home.

“We’re staying with relatives at the moment but there are others in the apartment block who have had to go to hotels.

“It’s alright for builders to say they’re putting in defences to stop flooding but the problem is they are not being maintained.”

James Hodgetts, who also lives on Griffin Lane, said: “The field acts like a flood plain. The houses to be built there are going to flood and it also puts everyone else at risk.

“The water got within a couple of feet from our house. It is a big concern.”

A spokesman for Taylor Wimpey said: “Our planning application included a full flood risk assessment and this was approved by both the local authority and the Environment Agency.”

Around 11 per cent of developments built in the last three years in Birmingham are at “serious risk” of a “significant flood”, according to a report published earlier this year by the adaptation sub-committee of the Committee on Climate Change.

The government advisers also revealed four times as many households and businesses could be hit unless more action was taken.

Figures showed 22 per cent of new developments were on flood plains in Stratford-upon-Avon in the three years to last year.

In Wyre Forest the figure was 23 per cent and it was 18 per cent in Wychavon.

The Federation of Small Businesses called for more investment in flood defences so businesses and householders were able to find competively-priced insurance.

Its Warwickshire and Coventry chairman Ian O’Donnell said: “The money these firms are paying out could go to grow their businesses or take on more staff. This can’t carry on year after year.”