Thousands more houses to be built on Doncaster flood-risk sites

Thousands more houses are still due to be built on sites in Doncaster that are seen as at risk of flooding

Thursday, 28th November 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th December 2019, 10:12 am

Around 500 homes are said to have been flooded after the heavy rains which saw the River Don burst its banks in the borough last month – but officials have confirmed more homes are planned for land at risk of flooding.

Doncaster Council has not provided a specific figure for the number of homes lined up for such sites, and says each case is very complex.

But the authority has described the figure as ‘less than 6,000’, made up of many different sites, each with different circumstances and mitigation measures in place where they have permission following consultation advice from the appropriate drainage bodies, including the Environment Agency (EA).

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Flood risk site in Barnby Dun while it was on flood alert on November 8, 2019
Flood risk site in Barnby Dun while it was on flood alert on November 8, 2019

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One example is the 3,100 homes planned under the Unity development, near Hatfield, where site levels would be raised following advice given by the EA.

Other sites are identified as being defended by flood defences and a large number are or on previously developed land.

Doncaster Council was criticised for planning to build on flood plains four years ago when it initially drew up local housing plans plans, it has emerged.

The Planning Inspectorate wrote to the authority in 2014 raising concerns over the number of homes it was looking to build on flood plain areas in its local plan.

A revised plan is now bring drawn up.

A letter from the inspectorate said of the 2014 plan: “I do not consider that the council’s starting point has been to seek to steer development away from areas with the highest probability of flood risk.“In my opinion the council’s approach to the selection of sites in areas of higher probability of flooding has been too inflexible. It has not given due consideration to the alternatives of developing in the countryside or evenin the Green Belt in order to avoid making allocations in areas of flood risk.”

Roy Sykes, Head of Planning, said: “We took the comments made by the inspector at the time on board and this is reflected in our approach to the emerging Local Plan. The council seeks to avoid building in areas at risk of flooding. The Local Plan aims to ensure that Doncaster adapts to the effects of climate change through careful planning and design of developments, primarily by avoiding more vulnerable development in high flood risk areas.

“As part of any planning application for housing in a high flood risk area, the council consults the Environment Agency and other relevant drainage bodies to get advice on suitability and determines the applications in line with National Planning Policy. Where avoidance is not possible, mitigation is required taking advice from the Environment Agency and drainage bodies. This may include requiring land levels to be raised and putting in place suitable drainage arrangements to ensure surface water run off can be dealt with within a site.”

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