Development raises fears for flooding

CONCERNED residents say potential housing developments in Ponteland would make flooding problems worse.

The group formed to fight plans for hundreds of new homes at Birney Hill and Clickemin Farm has written to Northumberland County Council and the Environment Agency to make sure the issue is looked at.

Evidence includes maps and photographs of flooding caused by overspills and run-off.

John Blundell, member of the Ponteland Green Belt Group, says Birney Hill and the Fairney Burn at Clickemin are not included in catchment flood management plans for the area, including the draft document issued earlier this year.

“The recent proposals for up to 800 homes in Ponteland will exacerbate significant flooding issues that already exist,” he said”There will always be residents’ drives and gardens inundated by heavy rain. What there should not be is close to internal flooding events going undocumented, with no maps, and no ongoing assessment.

“This becomes significant if housing developers use uniformed aspirational drainage solutions that do not address the reality of partially undocumented and already flood threatened areas. Any proposed developments upstream will cause exacerbated run-off to the watercourses beyond what residents already suffer.

“All Ponteland flow systems are at full capacity flooding tolerance already. There are no margins for error. Flawed drainage solutions will increase the flood threat of existing affected residents all over the area, not solve them.

“The flooding system cannot be assessed in isolation to the whole. Compounded interlinking flooding issues from Birney Hill effect every part of Ponteland, particularly the Fairney Burn at Clickemin as well as ponding at Mayfair Gardens.”

There are seven main watercourses in Ponteland. Four travel through Darras Hall from the top of Birney Hill the length of Ponteland. Two feed into the River Pont, two into Callerton Burn and the other three enter Fairney Burn.

Lugano says it will put in a new sustainable drainage system to make sure that surface run-off from new driveways, roofs and roads is not channelled towards Darras Hall.

It also intends to pay Northumbrian Water to design and construct a new sewer and any other necessary improvements for the development.

An Environment Agency spokeswoman said: “We have been in pre-planning discussions with the developers to give advice, and our recommendation is that drainage is controlled at these sites to prevent any increase in flood risk further downstream. We will comment on any planning application when it is submitted, but the overall decision lies with the local authority.”

A county council spokeswoman said: “As part of the pre-application process, Northumberland County Council encourages discussions with developers to ensure that sustainable drainage systems are in place. As part of the planning application, a flood risk assessment and surface water drainage strategy would be carried out by a third party and these would be assessed by the county council and the Environment Agency to ensure that the risk of flooding would not be increased.”