Whaley Bridge: Fears new homes could increase flood risk

Whaley Bridge Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption More than 1,500 residents were ordered to leave the town

Residents have called for plans to build more than 100 new homes in Whaley Bridge to be shelved in the wake of the dam emergency.

High Peak Borough Council has been considering an application from Barratt Homes for a new development on the outskirts of the Derbyshire town.

Campaign group Whaley Bridge Matters said the 107 new homes would increase the chance of further flooding.

Barratt Homes said such fears were unfounded.

Campaigners have been opposing plans to build new houses on land near Macclesfield Road and Linglongs Road since the idea was first mooted in 2013.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The 107 homes are planned for land at the junction of Linglongs Road and Macclesfield Road

The site is about 200m (220 yards) from the edge of Toddbrook Reservoir, which had to have its water levels significantly reduced to prevent a damaged dam collapsing.

Whaley Bridge Matters said it had hired specialists to investigate its concerns about drainage being reduced when concrete housing replaces green fields.

Kevin Worthington, from the group, said: "We instructed hydrologists to report on the potential impact of this development and they've clearly said in two separate documents that it is is going to increase downstream flood risk.

"But the county council have put documents on the High Peak planning portal which effectively say they have no concerns about flooding. That's in the face of independent reports we requested.

"It's not like we just went to some local plumber, these are specialists. We're quite disheartened that they [the council] appear to be frightened of the developer."

Image caption Whaley Bridge Matters has been fighting to stop the plans since 2013

Derbyshire County Council said the final decision would be made by High Peak Borough Council after reviewing recommendations made by "numerous relevant agencies".

High Peak Borough Council has been invited to comment.

Ian Hiliker, technical director at Barratt Homes, said: "Building this development will not increase flood risk.

"The site will have a drainage system installed which will reduce water run-off rates by 30% and make the site more resilient against heavy rainfall than it is currently, as agreed by the lead local flood authority.

"The site does not drain into the reservoir."

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