Work on controversial new homes quickly leads to flooding

Issue 668

COUNCIL planners have been condemned after work on a new housing scheme in Mirfield caused flooding.

Houses on Lady Heton Drive were affected on Monday after Ben Bailey Homes began building 34 properties nearby.

Campaigners warned planners and the developer that the area would flood if the scheme went ahead.

Town Council chief Coun Vivien Lees-Hamilton (Con, Hopton) attacked Kirklees Council for waving away their concerns.

She said: “The land was allocated for housing in the Unitary Development Plan (UDP) in 1999.

“Back then the area probably was suitable for housing, but since 1999 the council has repeatedly allowed developers to build outside of the UDP.

“As a result all the soakaway land has gone and the area is now prone to flooding.

“I don’t know whether the planning committee was deaf or just didn’t get it, but they approved the development anyway.”

Optician Darren Aveyard and another of his neighbours on Lady Heton Drive are affected.

The back garden of Darren’s home is flooded while the garage of a neighbour had to be pumped out.

Water was also said to be flowing under the property, with a concern for its foundations.

Darren said: “Contractors removed the topsoil and vegetation, leaving a clay base underneath exposed.

“And then, as we told the council, when it rained the land’s flooded, and, because of the slope, it’s then all flowed towards Lady Heton Drive.”

Workmen, when told by Darren of the problem, piled up a bank of soil in a bid to stem the tide.

He added: “All credit to them for acting, but who knows where the water will go now?”

Coun Lees-Hamilton said the developer should offer compensation and added: “That’s the price they should pay for riding rough-shod over people.”

She added Ben Bailey Homes had “acted like environmental terrorists” for removing trees from the site.

Coun Lees-Hamilton said: “The irony is trees soak up water, and I don’t care that the developer is going to plant saplings after the fact.

“Those saplings will take years to grow, and in the meantime residents are left with a continuing problem.”

But Coun Lees-Hamilton, also a Kirklees councillor, reserved her main criticism for planners.

She said: “It’s galling to know we were right and the planning committee was wrong.

“But we can’t crow about ‘we told you so’ because this is a serious problem affecting people’s lives.”

There are now fears bigger housing schemes set for Mirfield could also cause flooding.

Houses on Stocks Bank Road, near to where 166 homes are to be built as part of the Mirfield25 project, already suffer flooding.

Similar issues affect the Balderstone Fields, where Bellway Homes want to build 134 properties.

Of the work off Kitson Hill Road, a spokeswoman for Ben Bailey Homes said no complaints had been received from residents.

She said: “The proposed works include surface water run-off prevention measures along the site boundaries.

“This will any prevent run-off from the site from affecting neighbouring properties.

“Installation of these protection measures was completed on January 13 and our engineers are inspecting the site regularly to monitor their performance.

“To date, we have not been approached by any residents regarding surface water run-off since our works commenced on the site.”

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