Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 7, 2016

Sewage In Burscough And Anywhere else In West Lancashire

yourplanyoursay As we have already reported, Burscough Residents Flooding Group (BRFG) is set up to collect information on residents’ issues over flooding events to collate a report to the Parish Council. The group is compiling data on the flooding in Burscough in order to campaign for spending on its sewer and surface water drainage network. As they claim “The more comprehensive that information the better our chance of being successful”.

Correspondence between the BRFG and WLBC has continued. Everybody in this borough who faces massive housing developments near to their homes knows that a) it is probable that sewage and water drainage systems are old, and b) that the developers will not spend their profits on modernising sewage and water drainage systems. So this is as crucial to the forthcoming Parrs Lane rosieparrsvisit development as it is to Burscough, and to recruiting Rosie Cooper MP for help with her flood group.

On 31 August 2016 in a letter to Mr Rattray of BRFG, Peter Richards of WLBC wrote

“Apologies for not coming back to you sooner regarding your email below. I have been awaiting technical input from United Utilities to be best able to respond and, due to the holiday period, I have only just received the information from United Utilities (UU). In relation to your ultimate question of Mr Broderick, as your query relates to a planning matter, it is not for Mr Broderick, as the Borough Solicitor, to comment on the detail behind a planning application. As was stated in the first paragraph of the original letter in 2012 you have referred to, the response contained in that letter was provided by the Borough Planner on behalf of the Council. Mr Broderick’s role related to the coordination of the petition process (only). This response is provided by the Planning Service.

“Moving to the detail of the issue you raise, the Council and UU can understand the concerns of residents, especially given the recent heavy rainfall events, however, any consideration of a planning application must have regard to UU’s statutory obligations and the provisions of planning policy to ensure any requirements are reasonable and necessary in the context of the development proposed. Despite what the Drainage Report prepared by SCP Transportation Planning on behalf of Burscough Parish Council concludes in relation to the foul and surface water flows in the area (conclusions which UU do not necessarily agree with, particularly when the actual levels of development proposed in planning application 2015/0171/OUT are considered) both UU and the Lead Local Flood Authority, which is Lancashire County Council in this area, are happy that the drainage situation has been carefully considered and safeguards put in place through the use of conditions should any future development take place on the site. In particular:

1) Policy SP3 of the adopted Local Plan westlocalplan states that the offer to draw surface water from the public sewerage system shall be to an attenuated greenfield run-off rate.

2) The flood risk assessment submitted with the application makes it clear that there is an intention to secure attenuation of the diverted surface water flows from the public sewer. In particular, please refer to paragraph 5.4.9 of the main body of the flood risk assessment. This intention is also referenced on page 4 of the report prepared by Utility Law Solutions in Appendix J.

3) The principles of the flood risk assessment are also subsequently secured in the draft conditions 26 and 29. In addition, condition 29 states:

‘..the drainage scheme shall demonstrate that the surface water run-off from rainfall events generated up to and including the 1 in 100 year critical storm +30% allowance for climate change will not exceed the run-off to watercourse from the existing undeveloped site and following the corresponding rainfall events.’

As such, in order for the site to be brought forward for development, conditions 26 and 29 would need to be satisfied through the technical detail provided in a reserved matters application or in a separate discharge of the conditions.

Therefore, UU and the Council could not agree with your statement that “WLBC have granted outline planning permission to a scheme that will significantly increase the annual water flow into a watercourse known to flood widely with 40% of that flow to be effectively unattenuated; and have also allowed the scheme to increase the peak flowrate to UUs undersized sewer network by 11 l/s.”

Kind regards,
Peter (Peter Richards MTCP DipHE MRTPI-Strategic Planning & Implementation Manager)

4 September 2016 Gavin Rattray wrote
Dear Mr Broderick
CC: Peter Richards

Thank you for your response written by Mr Richards. I accept that, as Mr Richards stated, the letter was written by the Chief Planner Mr Harrison (WLBC Letter to BAG); although the letter doesn’t mention this, unlike Peter Richards’ emails to me on your behalf, so any reader would have assumed that the letter was written with the full understanding and agreement of your Office and only contain its beliefs/legal viewpoints.

Please would you tell me why the Chief Planner wrote to Burscough action group using the Borough Solicitors Letterhead rather than that of his own office? Do you wish to disassociate yourself from that 2012 letter? And, if so, please would you kindly clarify why?

Regarding Peter Richards’ fourth paragraph of the following email containing,
“(conclusions which UU do not necessarily agree with, particularly when the actual levels of development proposed in planning application 2015/0171/OUT are considered) both UU and the Lead Local Flood Authority, which is Lancashire County Council in this area, are happy that the drainage situation has been carefully considered and safeguards put in place through the use of conditions should any future development take place on the site”.
As UU is a for profit firm, with no duty of impartiality and SCP was employed by BCP who, like WLBC, has a duty in law to act in a fair, reasonable way, including considering all the evidence, please would you clarify which conclusions in the SCP report (Drainage assessment Review0001) WLBC disagrees with and why?

Since SCP reported, a lot of old information has to come to light regarding flooding in Burscough, which has been going on since before 2005 when a flooding group in Burscough was first formed. At that time the issues were known to WLBC and discussed by its standards and overview committee (attached for your information). In particular it is now widely known that flooding of the Truscott estate is a regular long term problem caused by surcharging from UUs surface water sewer, which takes water from an ordinary watercourse on YTF through a surface water sewer under Higgins Lane/Truscott Road. Frequent regular flooding also occurs on another part of Higgins Lane from another ordinary watercourse across YTF under the northern end of Higgins Lane.

The YTF development will increase the annual water flow into one or both of these watercourses by increasing the flows at Greenfield runoff rate whenever it rains. In addition, these two watercourses combine and feed into the Crabtree Lane area, which already floods widely and has done so in three of the past five years. Please note that I only mention some of the problems and don’t dwell on the sewer network problems because the SCP report, along with the FOI evidence provided by WLBC, shows without a shadow of doubt that insufficient capacity in UUs sewer network in Burscough is causing widespread sewer flooding in Burscough.

Because recent contact with LCC indicates that they are unsure of their new responsibilities and don’t seem to have the budget to act, given also, that UU has so far avoided any responsibility towards resolving the long term flooding problems on the Truscott estate by blaming the riparian owners (LCC again I believe) and that EA won’t act to increase the drainage capacity by enlarging the pinch points in their watercourses in the Crabtree Lane area. Please can I see the evidence LCC and the EA provided to WLBC that they are going to increase the capacity of their watercourses to prevent the YTF development from making flooding in Burscough worse? and if WLBC don’t have any evidence, please can I have an explanation why increasing the flow into the flood prone watercourses upstream of Crabtree Lane won’t increase the frequency and/or severity of flooding experienced by the unfortunate residents of the Truscott estate and Crabtree Lane?

In fact please may I have a response to my original question in June. ‘Given that a planning condition of stage A YTF development requires removing surface water from the sewers and adding it to the watercourses; there would inevitably be an increase in flooding in Burscough due to building on YTF. As your letter in 2012 played such an important part in reassuring so many residents that building on the massive Yew Tree Farm greenbelt site, “will not be allowed to make it [flooding in Burscough] worse”.

Do you still stand by your statement? And, if so, what measures are you going to put in place?’

Best regards (Gavin Rattray – Secretary Burscough Flooding Group)

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