The Futility Of Protest Against Development And Flood Risk?

A “Political watcher”  writes to the Champion about the Tarleton development masterplan, comparing it with events in Burscough and concluding that the subject of house building in copious quantities is an entirely political one and “regardless of the political party in majority, rest assured the end result will be the same…save yourselves a world of grief and just accept it”.

As it happens, another contentious application in Burscough relates to planning application 2018/0464/FUL, Land to the West of Red Cat Lane Burscough Lancashire; Residential development (38 units). Planning Statement Jones Homes (Lancashire) Ltd, Carol Mawdsley, Susan Houghton and Gillian Bentham. Full Planning Application for Residential Development (38 Dwellings).

Of particular interest in this case, as occurs so often in Burscough, is the matter of reducing flood risk, and seemingly the site is located in flood zone 1 (low risk of flooding) and the submitted drainage strategy “demonstrates” that the site can be suitably drained without impacting on the surrounding community. But read on!

Comments made by Bursough resident and anti-flood campaigner Gavin Rattray brought attention to a 2010 report sponsored by WLBC that went missing for approximately six years and therefore conveniently didn’t inform the local plan’s Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) that including Red Cat Lane as a plan B site was a bad idea because of the downstream drainage.

United Utilities is in the peculiar position where no public body is challenging their appalling declining service. Instead, LCC and WLBC are supporting them by deliberately refusing to collect the evidence of their failures and helping them by actively trying to replace the Burscough Flood Group with another group. And in the Flood Risk Assessment Report  3.2.4 United Utilities. The public drainage operator, United Utilities, confirmed that foul water can be drained into the combined sewerage network at an unrestricted rate and that there are no known capacity issues in the area. They encouraged taking site surface waters to soak-away or other infiltration systems. There is no known risk relating to sewerage flooding at the site.

The surface water outflow from the site will be connected to existing watercourses and a highway drainage system which were investigated in the 2010 WLBC Flood Report Burscough, with the following conclusions:

6.2 Crabtree Lane & Red Cat Lane
The field investigation identified a number of immediate remedial actions, these include:
• Removal of roots ingress upstream of manholes Mh RC 3 and Mh RC 4
• Removal of blockage in low level pipe approximately 2 m downstream of Mh RC 2
• Removal of blockages in road gullies along Red Cat Lane.
• Further investigations (walking line of historic culverts, dye testing, CCTV survey’s) are required to verify the information shown for historic culverts.
A hydraulic assessment was undertaken for Crabtree Lane and Red Cat Lane. A number of mitigation options were considered to alleviate flooding the options considered included:
• Replace 336 m of 225 mm drain from the junction of Red Cat Lane to Moss Nook to a point approximately 100 m north of the junction of Cherry Grove / Red Cat Lane (point A)
• Replace 460 m of 300 mm drain from point A to Hills View culvert
• Upsize the existing 225 mm diameter culvert (Hills View culvert) to a 375 mm diameter culvert.

Having looked at the Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) Report 1118-003-003 provided by the applicant and the SFRA provided by WLBC, Gavin Rattray made the following comment “The FRA report fails to consider the 2010 WLBC Flood Report Burscough and indeed it would appear that the applicant was unaware of this document. Developers and applicants need to consider flood risk to and from the development site, and it is likely to be in their own best interests to do this as early as possible, in particular, to reduce the risk of subsequent, significant additional costs being incurred. The broad approach of assessing, avoiding, managing and mitigating flood risk should be followed. . . .It would be helpful to include any evidence, such as maps and level surveys of the site, flood datasets (e.g. flood levels, depths and/or velocities) and any other relevant data, which can be acquired through consultation with the Environment Agency, the lead local flood authority for the area, or any other relevant flood risk management authority (NPPG).

“As the surface water drainage system was already failing prior to 2010 and proven to be hydraulically inadequate in 2010, it would be necessary to ascertain from WLBC/LCC whether the recommendations of the 2010 report were followed up, and what existing problems remain before making additional connections to this drainage system. Inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding should be avoided by directing development away from areas at highest risk, but where development is necessary, making it safe without increasing flood risk elsewhere (NPPF 100)”.

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