Plans to build thousands of new homes in Doncaster may need to be scrapped due to flooding fears.
The Planning Inspectorate says 8,410 houses due to be built in the borough are planned for development in areas which pose a considerable risk of flooding.
A total of 2,839 of the houses have already requested planning permission from the local authority.
These are part of 19,453 dwellings due to be built as part of the council’s strategy for regeneration in Doncaster. A report by the Planning Inspectorate an officer says: “The council has not given due consideration to the alternatives of developing in the countryside or even in the Green Belt in order to avoid making allocations in areas of flood risk.”
It adds: “From the evidence it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the council has chosen for allocation a number of sites to which it has a long-term commitment for the delivery of its regeneration efforts and has simply decided that these sites are so important to its efforts that this, by itself, its sufficient to provide the wider sustainability objectives and benefits required.”
Doncaster Council has now been asked to re-evaluate the sites selected for the 8,410 houses.
A number of areas are regarded as ‘flood zones’ by the Environment Agency, including Moorends, Denaby, Stainforth, Hatfield and Thorne.
Thorne Coun Martin Williams said: “Inspections like this get in the way of developers and house building, which isn’t right. And to me what they’re saying is utter nonsense.
“They say Thorne is a flood area which is just wrong. I’ve lived here since 1984 and I’ve never seen it flood. You’ve got to be careful with some areas, and I understand that, but they’re taking it too far.”
Peter Dale, the council’s director of regeneration and environment, said: “Any developments that already have planning permission can go ahead as potential flood risks have been assessed as part of the planning process.
“On Thursday full council will be considering the withdrawal of Doncaster’s sites and policies plan which outlines where developments can take place.
“This is due to feedback from the planning inspector and many local authorities across the country currently find themselves in this position.
“We will then be able to develop revised plans.”
He added: “We will continue to work closely with the Environment Agency.”