Flooding risks are an increasingly important consideration for planners and have proved the nemesis of many a development proposal. However, a High Court case which opened the way for construction of homes on a site which had been prone to inundation in the past showed that such concerns are not insurmountable.
A company planned to build 12 homes on a site which had been left open so that it could act as a basin for water run-off after an adjacent lake was filled in to make way for new housing. Local residents recalled that the one-hectare site was regularly flooded with water which often spread onto neighbouring properties.
The local authority nevertheless granted planning permission after the company employed water management experts to design a drainage solution which, it was asserted, would greatly improve the site’s ability to store excess water during bad weather, thus reducing flooding and run-off onto adjoining land.
In rejecting objectors’ judicial review challenge to that decision, the Court found that the council had correctly applied local and national flooding risk policies. Planners were entitled to accept the company’s statement that the drainage improvements would increase the site’s water storage capacity by 50 per cent.