Posted by: westlancashirerecord | January 2, 2017

The Hot Topic Of 2017 Will Be Flooding In Burscough?

“Salus Populi Suprema Lex – The Wellbeing Of The People Is The Supreme Law” states the WLBC Coat of Arms westlancscoatofarms and there are no disclaimers as to different areas of the Borough. Burscough is included. So why do we read that while flooding takes place regularly in Burscough and those responsible for it, the Environment Agency and WLBC, propose to do nothing about it, the health and wellbeing of residents affected by flooding will not matter to our jobsworths?

The Secretary of the Burscough Flooding Group made a formal complaint to WLBC on 27/11/2016 about 2016/0406/FUL Lordsgate Lane planning decision, and received a response from a senior planning officer. Being dissatisfied with the answer he now wishes his complaint to be re-examined. His concern includes the view that while the land concerned lies within an area that the Environment Agency (EA) states is Flood Zone 1, and Flood Zone 1 is land with critical drainage problems, yet the EA has not notified WLBC of critical drainage problems and that “While the Council is aware of issues with the drainage infrastructure in the Burscough area and has knowledge of some localised flooding incidents this is not preventative to development taking place”. So that’s alright then!

The Flooding Group Secretary wrote back “I am surprised by the apparent lack of action by WLBC to resolve the additional flooding problems that 2016/0406/FUL will cause and hope it does not intend to hide behind the wording of NPPF instead of exercising reasonable care for the health and wellbeing of its current and future new residents in Admiralty Close and Lordsgate Lane.

“WLBC’s current interpretation of NPPF, as allowing them to build large numbers of new homes and commercial premises in areas that they know will cause flooding or flood themselves, is fundamentally flawed for the reasons I stated on the 27/11/2016; and I would also like to provide the following additional evidence to reinforce those points and also to be considered in BFG’s similar complaint, made on the 29/12/2016, against the Booths development.

“Prior to the current local plan 2012-27 consultation period, there was a moratorium on building large developments in Burscough, believed to be because there were infrastructure problems including well known problems with its drainage systems, which were causing flooding from surface water and combined sewers. Planning permission was often refused by WLBC for any but the smallest developments in Burscough (this is verbal evidence I received from a Councillor). It does fit with the evidence at the time; which was: a flooding group was formed in Burscough in 2005 because of several large scale flooding incidents; WLBC summoned UU to appear before its scrutiny committee, where it was told to resolve the inadequacies in its drainage infrastructure in Burscough; UU did nothing, except stop appearing at meetings when requested and the flooding group disbanded after approximately two years because of their inability to halt the problem caused by UU’s lack of investment in infrastructure.

“Later when WLBC were trying to find land for building a strategic development site they acknowledged the ongoing flooding problems by stating that the only way Burscough’s drains would be fixed would be through large scale development at Yew Tree Farm and they modified the SFRA to allow large scale building in Burscough again, as follows:
• WLBC changed the SFRA for Burscough significantly from 2010 to the draft 2011 by the removal of the following caveats in sections 4.4.3 and 4.4.1, and the illustration gavinmap which demonstrates the extent of the problem in Burscough.  dsc00708
“No development can currently be supported in Burscough due to the constraints on infrastructure and the increased risk of non-fluvial flooding. The preferred option will need to indicate how these issues will be resolved.” dsc00703
“Burscough is the lowest lying of all three main settlements . . . in close proximity to high flood risk areas . . . Therefore, it should be noted that although flooding from fluvial and tidal sources is considered to be low, the risks are greater in this location than that of both Skelmersdale and Ormskirk.”

“In the spring of 2011 WLBC Cabinet Councillors decided to release a huge area of greenbelt to build a strategic development site of between 250 and 1000 homes (in two stages) at Yew Tree Farm in Burscough. 2016/0406/FUL Lordsgate Lane forms a tiny part of this site.

“Through conversations, emails and FOI searches BFG knows that no money has been spent upgrading the capacity of Burscough’s sewers since before 2005 and no money has been earmarked for the same; so our frequent flooding problems continue to get worse slowly as more houses are built, and more greenfield land is built on, in and around Burscough.

“Larger scale developments, which would previously have been refused because of the lack of drainage infrastructure before the 2010 SFRA was changed, such as that at Booths, the six houses at the bottom of Lordsgate lane and the very large development at Ainscough Mill have all gone ahead.

“Booths and the Ainscough Mill development have already caused serious flooding or flooded themselves due to the inadequacy of the drainage network. This has caused misery and financial hardship to a number of existing residents and a large number of new residents. The luckier victims, who can afford to, will have already moved out leaving uninsurable blighted new properties behind them.

“Without intervention by WLBC, 2016/0406/FUL development will cause misery and financial hardship to a number of existing and new residents of Admiralty Close and Lordsgate Lane”. floods1billion

“The Wellbeing Of The People Is The Supreme Law” will be forgotten. But then it always is.

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