Claims that houses would ‘increase flood risk’

Concerns have been raised that a potential new housing scheme in an area of Morpeth could increase the risk of flooding.

The claims about Bellway Homes North East’s proposal for up to 200 homes in Loansdean were made by Geoff Parkin, senior lecturer in hydrology at Newcastle University, at an appeal hearing in Morpeth Town Hall.

The Mitford Road resident initiated and ran projects on the detailed assessment of the 2008 Morpeth floods.

At the inquiry, he said the flood-risk assessment by Fairhurst on behalf of Bellway is ‘wholly inadequate’ as it fails to address sufficiently the increased risk of flooding from surface-water run-off to properties in The Chip.

He is not satisfied that enough provision has been made to prevent an increase to the flow of water into the Church Burn during periods of heavy rain, which runs towards the town centre.

He added: “The assessment does not make a clear case based on identification and quantification of water flows and appropriate technical detail of design about the issues of management of water movements across the site boundary (in both directions) locally, as well as the increased flood risk downstream as a consequence of the management of local water flows.

“The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) puts the onus on the appellant to provide a compelling case that proposed development does not worsen flood risk elsewhere, but it has clearly failed to provide such a case.”

Dr Parkin also said the effect on the sewerage network must not be made worse if the proposal goes ahead, referring to residents reporting problems along the suggested route that sewerage from the site will feed into, including from Merley Gate and Sweethope Dene and particularly where the network runs parallel to the Church Burn towards the Sun Inn.

Steve Dickie, technical director at Fairhurst, said: “The proposed development will be designed in accordance with current design standards and legislation.

“The drainage systems will require approval from Northumbrian Water and Northumberland County Council. The proposed Sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) attenuation and storage ponds will require council approval and Northumbrian Water will also stipulate that the SuDS operate in accordance with the proposed site drainage system such that there is no localised flood risk.

“The proposed development will intercept run-off from the site and convey flows into the formal drainage system.

“Discharge to the Catch Burn will be restricted to greenfield rates to ensure that no flooding is caused or existing flooding exacerbated.

“A flood-risk assessment was prepared in accordance with the NPPF and the accompanying technical guidance to ensure that there is not an increased risk of flooding to the site and elsewhere. Hydraulic modelling of the Catch Burn demonstrates that flood risk is not increased at the site nor to properties at Hepscott.”