Eastwood joins outcry at flood plain housing

Eastwood joins outcry at flood plain housing
By Tony Earnshaw
Local Democracy Reporter

DEWSBURY MP Mark Eastwood has urged Kirklees Council to rethink its policy on approving building in areas prone to flooding.

In the aftermath of Storm Ciara, planners who voted to build a housing estate in a notorious flood zone have been invited to see the area for themselves.

Kirklees has said it would be “more than happy” to accept an invitation to visit.”

The council has come under fire from residents for brushing off fears over flooding. One member, Coun Carole Pattison, said building on an ancient floodplain at Granny Lane was “worth the risk”.

The council said a technical appraisal of the land had confirmed it to be “an appropriate site” for residential development.

But Martyn Bolt (Con, Mirfield) urged the council and Environ-ment Agency “to take notice of what has happened and the potential for what could happen”.

He said Mirfield’s unique position as a meeting point for three rivers – the Holme, the Colne and the Calder – meant the surrounding area was historically prone to flooding but that concerns had not been heeded.

He said flood levels had officially exceeded a previous record set in 2015 but that the problem could have been reduced had flood measures been put in place.

“In 2015 local businesses were telling us that the effect on them was into tens of millions of pounds,” said Coun Bolt. “If they get hit again by floods they may leave the area.” He added: “It’s not an exaggeration to say that lives are at risk from these decisions.”

Mr Eastwood said he had emailed Kirklees chief executive Jacqui Gedman about the issue.

“With other proposed development sites, I would ask that Kirklees Council stop ignoring local people, community groups and planning experts in a rush to push through inappropriate developments and has a complete re-think on its planning policy,” he added.

Council director Karl Battersby said: “The Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA), Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency were all consulted ... and together made changes to the proposed surface water drainage system and confirmed the site to be satisfactory.”

Potential developers would have to submit plans which met the various authorities’ approval.

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