We are living in extraordinary times.
As I sit here, thunder is crashing overhead, the noise interspersed with ominous flashes of lightning and rain is pouring down the window.
As one of the flood wardens in the village, I had begun to relax. We have a rain intensity alarm in place which will soon give us more accurate flood alerts, the implementation of which has only been delayed by the need to calibrate it, for which we need rain.
Another source of comfort, although only a small one, was that concreting over part of the field above Louvigny Close was going to be mitigated by installation of attenuation tanks … masses of them … the two largest of which were designed to give betterment of 10% over the previous runoff from the site.
There were a number of conditions placed on Wainhomes when they won the appeal to build 50 houses currently under construction.
The conditions are explicit and unambiguous, but there is one which is of particular interest:
6) No building hereby permitted shall be occupied until surface water drainage works have been implemented in accordance with details that have been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. These details shall ensure a betterment in accordance with the submitted Flood Risk Assessment and drawing 1495/PDL/01B. Before these details are submitted a further assessment shall be carried out of the potential for the disposal of surface water by means of a sustainable drainage system and the results of the assessment provided to the local planning authority. Where a sustainable drainage scheme is to be provided the submitted details shall;
a) provide information about the design storm period and intensity, the method employed to delay and control the surface water discharged from the site and the measure taken to prevent pollution of the receiving groundwater and/or surface waters;
b) include a timetable for its implementation; and
c) provide a management and maintenance plan for the lifetime of the development which shall include the arrangements for adoption by any public authority or statutory undertaker and any other arrangements to secure the operation of the scheme throughout its lifetime.
Residents have been contacting me for some time telling me that Wainhomes hadn’t complied with the requirement to install the largest attenuation tanks before allowing the new houses to be occupied (currently six of them).
In hindsight, my standard response was rather patronising (hence the title of this blog). It is a condition of the appeal decision with which Wainhomes have to comply. It is unthinkable that any developer would seek to ignore such a clear instruction from a Planning Inspector in a village so severely prone to flooding.
Water poured off the Wainhomes site this morning, gushed through the allotments and flooded roads and gardens in the centre of the village.
Residents, as resilient as ever, were out in force, putting up flood boards and doing their best to keep the drains running freely. But again, the only thing which prevented widespread flooding was our good friend Luck … the rain stopped long enough for the drains to cope.
The issue of non-compliance on the part of Wainhomes is now a planning enforcement issue (ref. 14/F0624).
There are 12 conditions on the schedule attached to the appeal decision. Each one should now be scrutinised to make sure that Wainhomes is complying.
It appears that we cannot rely on Trust.