Housing flood risk objection removed

An artist's impression of the proposed development at Stobhill.
An artist's impression of the proposed development at Stobhill.

A COUNCIL flood risk objection to Stobhill housing plans has been removed, but concerns remain about the site.

Plans by Barratt Homes North East and Tees Valley Housing to build 396 homes on land between the A192 and A196 have met with strong local concern, including the possibility of increased flood risk.

However, at a public meeting last month, the Environment Agency said a scheme that would reduce flood risk downstream is feasible.

And now Northumberland County Council’s Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) officer has said that after reviewing the latest assessment he can remove the objection to development on flood-risk grounds, subject to conditions relating to the details of the scheme.

Barratt North East Managing Director Mike Roberts said: “We welcome the officer’s comments, which should eliminate any concerns about flood risk.

“The sustainable drainage scheme we are proposing will significantly and demonstrably reduce the potential of flooding in Hepscott village.

“This is an enormous benefit to the area.”

However, the Morpeth Flood Action Group remains to be convinced.

Chairman Alan Bell said: “We are concerned about the actual working of the scheme.

“Our fear is that the developer will put this sustainable drainage scheme in and it will then be taken over by the local authority to manage.

“The developer at this stage just has to tick the boxes.

“There will be more detail when further tests are done on the site. A concern is that the ponds and swales will never replicate the natural run-off of a greenfield site. At times, they will cause additional water to go into the burn.

“It would be virtually impossible, or prohibitively expensive, to re-configure the situation if the scheme put in fails.”

Mr Bell said there is also a fear that foul water drainage will overload the existing sewer works.

The housing application is currently being assessed by county planning officers.