Flooding concerns could hold up controversial plans for a housing development.
Planning committee members at Newcastle Borough Council were due to make a decision on the application at their meeting tonight.
But concerns over potential flooding have yet to be resolved, and officers are now advising that councillors put off making a decision until next month, so further information can be provided.
Officers had previously recommended the application for approval – subject to the flooding concerns being addressed – describing it as ‘an acceptable residential development’ with ‘good quality design that would enhance the appearance of the area’.
But following the publication of the report to the planning committee, the borough council received further representations from Staffordshire County Council, the lead local flood authority for the area.
Peter Norman, flood risk planning officer, says that assurances are still required over the existing surface water sewer flood risk, and water quality.
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In his letter, Mr Norman states: “As previously requested, we need further reassurance that the flood risk associated with the existing surface water sewer is sufficiently low. Regarding this issue, the latest flood risk assessment report states, ‘There are no records of sewer flooding at or near to the site. It can therefore be concluded that the risk of sewer flooding is low.’
“However, the pre-development site is a field and therefore it is highly unlikely that if sewer flooding were to occur that it would be sufficiently problematical to be reported. Consequently, we need more evidence than this – we currently do not know whether this will flood every year for example or whether it will never flood in this location.”
Mr Norman says the authority needs ‘robust assurance’ that the site will not flood within 30 years, and that any flooding beyond this period would be diverted away from ‘vulnerable areas’.
The site is located within Flood Zone 1, meaning the risk of flooding is considered to be low.
Severn Trent Water and United Utilities have both said that they would not object to the housing development, subject to conditions being imposed to secure adequate drainage schemes.
The updated recommendations to the planning committee is for the decision to be deferred to February 2, to give Persimmon time to respond to the flooding concerns and allow the county council to request further information.
The proposed development would consist of two, three and four bedroom detached and semi-detached houses, along with one and two bedroom maisonettes.
Previous plans for 71 homes on the site were recommended for refusal due to their ‘inappropriate design’ and the ‘potential poor living conditions’ of future occupants.
The application was withdrawn in April and these issues were addressed to the satisfaction of officers in the revised plans.
But six residents have objected to the new application, raising concerns over flooding along with traffic, the impact on local services and other issues.
Butt Lane resident Mark Kelsall says a footpath across the site is already prone to flooding.
Mr Kelsall wrote: “The path was for many years maintained by ICL when they occupied the site currently occupied by AAH and the site subject of this application. During that time it flooded occasionally but since the development of the AAH site and abandonment of the proposed development site it is frequently flooded by rain water running off the large loading yard and the abandoned site.
“This situation will only become worse with yet more concrete and tarmac for surface water to run off.”