Go-ahead for new homes bid - The Worcester Observer

Go-ahead for new homes bid

Worcester Editorial 19th Feb, 2015 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016   0

PLANS to build a housing development close to Northwick’s floodplain have been approved despite fears some of the properties could get swamped with water.

Members of Worcester City Council backed developer Bloor Homes’ proposals to create 52 homes off Northwick Lane at a meeting last Thursday (February 12).

A detailed flood risk assessment was carried out by BWB Consultants, which confirmed that the site was not within the recognised floodplain.

However, the application triggered a number of letters of objection, with some residents claiming they had seen water settle on the site which had been earmarked for housing by the emerging South Worcestershire Development Plan.

Among those included Graham Russell who told councillors at the meeting the proposed development was “fraught with problems”.

Coun Mike Whitehouse, councillor for the area, also expressed concerns after seeing the developer scale back the scheme following the floods in 2014.

“In December 2013, Bloor Homes put on a viewing of the proposals and on that occasion this site there were 59 houses,” he said.

“At the time, the people I spoke to were very confident in their flood assessments, but unfortunately they didn’t consult mother nature.

“After we had unprecedented floods in February last year, seven or eight houses miraculously disappeared when it came to the full application.

“Of course, that area flooded, so this is why I don’t have much faith in the flood experts.

“I think there will be problems. I can’t predict when, but at some point there will be and for me there is enough doubt to trim the numbers of this development to make sure that if it does happen then people’s lives would not be affected.”

He said it was “common sense” to ask the developer to reduce the number of homes and urged councillors to think like “human beings” rather than “technical bean counters”.

However, Coun Geoff Williams, chairman of the planning committee, said: “We have to rely on the environment agency as they are the people who are charged to provide us with advice.

“People may disagree with them, but they are the people we have to use.”

Having been to visit the site, Coun David Wilkinson said he was “satisfied” that the area would not flood in the future, while Coun Jo Hodges added: “I think the climate is changing and that areas which previously hadn’t flooded are flooding. But I suppose I have to put my faith in the environment.

“It is difficult to argue with all these letter of objections where people say they have seen the area flood. But overall I think I am going to have to support it as I don’t think we have the evidence to turn it down.”

Speaking after the meeting, Steve Macpherson, Technical Director at Bloor Homes Western region, said: ““Having now achieved planning, over the coming weeks we will be preparing submissions for planning conditions and mobilising our construction team.”



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