Threats to TBC

LongChurch_6

Powerful Developer Resorts to Dirty Tactics ….

David Hutchison, Executive Director at Pegasus Threatens Tewkesbury Borough Council and
Twigworth Residents nearly lost it’s voice due to underhand tactics at Robert Hitchins appeal on Wednesday 5 July.

It is alarming that the Inspector is the only person between Twigworth and more flooding disasters.....

David Hutchison, Executive Director at Pegasus said “we now invite you to concede your case on flooding is entirely misconceived and to withdraw it before the close of business on Monday July 3rd. If you do so the Appellant undertakes not to apply for costs against the Council on the flooding issue’.

Paul Skelton Development Manager at Tewkesbury Borough Council said, “I can confirm that the Council will maintain its case on flood risk, and its costs application”.

Twigworth residents hope that in the course of the Appeal the inspector will allow a viewing of local evidence and hear the opinion of an impartial and unpaid expert, Professor Ian Cluckie, who has no interest in this area, or obligation to any developer, or resident, or council which has to find space for thousands of new houses.

One of the challenges we face in relation to the pluvial and ground water flooding in our villages is that much of it is not picked up by the agencies who collect the data on flooding. There are people living close to the sites now under proposal who have been forced to evacuate from their houses because of flooding which, according to the agencies’ data, didn’t happen.

Glos City Council said to us ‘We depend on local people coming forward to tell us, but few people want to.’ Well that’s no surprise. No one is going to queue up to pay more household insurance. Which leaves us in a bit of an awkward corner. The data upon which housing decisions like this are taken is sourced from people who don’t want to provide it. It is a method of gathering evidence which, put politely, is in urgent need of review.

We have repeatedly asked the agencies to show us a site like Twigworth with flood mitigation measures that work. How can anyone have confidence in flood defences which are yet to be tried in terrain like Twigwoth, flat waterlogged clay-heavy land at virtually no gradient to standing water close by? We all see the ponds sitting there for weeks. And even if you could channel it away, where is the water going to go when the brooks are overspilling their banks.

Developers have to factor in future increase in river flow and rainfall intensity, and over the years these percentages have been regularly reviewed and rightly raised. But climate change is not the only cause of our growing flood risk. Local farmers report that small river and brook flooding has increased hugely over the past generation, especially those rivers that pass through new housing developments on their way to us. Soon several thousand new houses are to be built a few miles upstream from here. This will add significantly to our current threat level. I trust the developers and/or the council will be showing how they intend to compensate for this.

The application advocates the use of SUDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage System) but it later admits in it’s own application that the underlying RLM are of low/negligible permeability will not be suitable for a soakaway (SUDS) drainage system.

Professor Ian Clukie, said “SUDS has proved relatively ineffective in areas like this, namely impermeable clay soils, land with virtually nil gradient, close to major-river flooding”.

*A survey of more than 500 industry professionals for the new report, including engineers, flood experts and planners, found only 8% believe that current standards are driving high quality and effective SuDS in England.

A Place for SuDS report, February 2017, found that many SuDS that were installed were poor quality. The government’s own research shows SuDS are often cheaper to build and maintain than traditional drainage systems and the CCC estimates that they save £2 for every £1 spent.

In 2016, the government rejected proposals to use its Housing and Planning Act to increase the use of SuDS. Lord John Krebs, then at the CCC, told the Guardian: “In 20 years time, people will look back and say, ‘What were they thinking?’

The Environmental Statement (Non-Technical Summary, p.18) states ‘The Proposed Development will be safe from flooding as all built development will be located within Flood Zone 1, which has a low risk of flooding. Flood risk will not be increased downstream, and overall floodrisk in the area will be reduced’.

Environment Agency has no objection to this application but yet recommends that the floor levels are to be raised by at least 2 foot above ground to protect the development from flooding. Sarah Yates said: “It’s all very well saying that the new houses will be raised above the ground level by 2 foot. What about the rest of us? I live in house that was built in 1800’s I can't raise my house nor can my neighbours put there houses on stilts to prevent it from being flooded its madness. I trust the developers and/or the council will be showing how they intend to compensate for this”.

George Sharpley said: “Within a few years, the developers will have sold on, council officers moved on too. The decision to be taken is not like picking a rugby team, which you can change next week if it doesn’t work out. Once you have sunk these houses into the plain, they are there for ever more. And we are left with the mess…..

ENDS

Notes:

Wednesday 5 July 2017

Tewkesbury Borough Council Offices

9.30am start

Twigworth resident George Sharply and Professor Ian Cluckie will be presenting evidence on flooding to the inspector re: appeal of refused application: 15/01149/OUT

A mixed use development comprising demolition of existing buildings; up to 725 dwellings and a local centre of 0.33ha (A1,A2,A3,A4,A5,D1,D2 uses); primary school, open space, landscaping, parking and supporting infrastructure and utilities; and the creation of a new vehicular access from the A38 Tewkesbury Road. | Land At Tewkesbury Road Twigworth