WLBC Planning Application 2019/1182/ARM Stirs The Attention Of Burscough Flooding Group, Again!

The application seeks Approval of Reserved Matters

Erection of 267 dwellings including details of appearance, landscaping, layout and scale. Discharge of Condition Nos. 5, 8, 14, 16, 18, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30… | Site Of Former Yew Tree Farm Liverpool Road South Burscough Lancashire.

As expected in flood prone Burscough, be it surface water or raw sewage on doorsteps and intruding into homes, the Drainage Statement For Land At Yew Tree Farm Burscough 28rd October 2019 Job No. 19010 drew considerable attention. It stated “There are no existing adopted sewers crossing the site, and as far as we have been made aware there are no existing private drains which will need to be either diverted or catered for within the design for this site.

“There are existing adopted foul, combined and surface water sewers in the highways surrounding the site. Flood Risk Assessment – SuDS Management Plan. SuDS designs have been informed initially by a Flood Risk Assessment prepared by WSP dated 16th February 2015 which was submitted as part of the planning application reference 2015/0171/OUT. Foul sewers would be offered to United Utilities for adoption under a S104 Agreement as covered by the Water Industry Act 1991”.

Burscough Flooding Group asked of WLBC, 18 November 2019, how it normally ensures, especially in the light of the Lordsgate Lane YTF application, that building for this phase won’t go ahead until after the planning committee have agreed that drainage conditions can be met?

Moving on to 20 December 2019 Gavin Rattray

asked about various issues including nothing listed under the drainage statement/strategy/plan documents, when the application would be heard, and concerning the six houses on Lordsgate Lane of which the original special drainage conditions for YTF were never met. Mr Rattray specifically sought assurances that drainage conditions would be met.

Forward to 20 January 2020 and From: Drainage Sent: 16 January 2020 17:37 To: @westlancs.gov.uk> Subject: FW: 2019/1182/ARM – YTF Phase 2. “Hi, I met with Dave Crompton at the YTF development site on Tuesday morning (14th inst.) and now understand exactly what progress has been made to date.

“As suspected the surface water diversion in Lordsgate Lane cannot be undertaken just yet as United Utilities need to adopt the new SW sewers that will convey the existing flows to the attenuation ponds i.e. they will not allow diversion of a public sewer to a private sewer. Also, the SW flow from the new houses on Lordsgate Lane will be diverted to the new prospectively adoptable sewers, and it should be noted that this is not dependent upon adoption of the sewers. I now understand that why the phase numbering has become so confusing, but as these phases are cited in various legal/contractual documents it would confuse matters more if they were changed in line with my comments below.

“The foul drainage system will convey the flow to a Foul Water Pumping Station, from where the flow will be regulated before entering the existing combined public sewer to the west of the development. This combined sewer extends from Lordsgate Lane where the existing surface water public sewer is to be disconnected and diverted through the proposed SuDS system.

“Upon examining the submitted Geo-Physical Report (Summary Report 19010/SUM) I am satisfied that the conclusion that infiltration is not a suitable means of disposing of the surface water runoff. This is due to high perched groundwater levels and/or unsuitable ground.

“I will defer to the LLFA for any recommendations for discharging Conditions 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30. However, to aid the LLFA I expect the applicant to provide SW design calculations in mdx format, to demonstrate that there will be a free discharge for all events, to show how floodwater will be managed (i.e. exceedance routes) and provide external works drawings. On the latter point it needs to be demonstrated that SW runoff will be effectively managed within each plot and not allowed to flow onto adjacent plots, open space or highway”.

Thereafter BFG, as a stakeholder, submitted a 22 page document of evidence about foul drains, surface water drains, and myriad reasons why it opposed the application for Phase 2 of Yew Tree Farm, as did Burscough Town Council, which disclosed that the Jacobs Report was received by LCC in November 2019.

Historically it’s worth remembering that re “WLBC’s Secretive Behaviour. Gavin Rattray “Thought it would be helpful [to Cllr Ian Moran] if I clarified WLBC’s secretive behaviour, so you are aware of the issues. As you might not know, the main reason we know so much about the flooding problems in Burscough is because a freedom of information request made MP Rosie Cooper [below in historical picture] on behalf of Burscough Action Group,

obtained communications from UU dating from 2007 onwards stating that Burscough’s drainage network was hydraulically inadequate and so on.

WLBC clearly denied our MP and my rights through FOI legislation for 12 months, coincidentally until just after the closing date for evidence to be accepted into the public enquiry. We know WLBC has a duty in law to provide a balanced case. Did it try its absolute best not to? As you must know more recently I made a FOI application on behalf of BFG and it was denied by WLBC because they said I was vexatious – because WLBC were resolving the flooding issues in Burscough and it was a non-issue and so on. WLBC also denied FOI rights to everyone else, i.e. the entire world, including MP Rosie Cooper, who asked questions about flooding or drainage in Burscough. I got my FOI answered because I won an appeal to First-tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber) Information Rights Appeal Reference: EA/2018/0219”.

To bring the matter up to date Gavin Rattray wrote today re the Jacob’s report on Burscough’s flooding problems “Dear Councillor Ian Moran. Thank you for your email of the 25th January with the offer to meet Burscough Flooding Group. However, as you haven’t contacted BFG as you said you would, does this mean you have withdrawn your offer of a meeting?

“May I ask if WLBC are going to press ahead to get application 2019/1182/ARM approved without considering the Jacob’s report which it holds a draft copy of? Did WLBC prevent the borough engineer from analysing the Jacob’s report and/or completing his comments enabling it to be issued? Or is there another reason for the delay?

“The closing date for putting evidence into 2019/1182/ARM was 31st January. The offer of a meeting is still open. If you are not willing to meet it would be helpful if you could explain your reasons for not engaging with BFG”.

A telling comment made by Gavin Rattray was that “BFG have to engage with senior politicians, such as yourself, because our flooding problems are caused by geology; and decisions made by politicians which can only be solved through decisions by politicians. That is why BFG will continue indefinitely to try and get the political leadership of WLBC to communicate with us”.

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