Housing developments could ‘worsen flood risk’ along River Deben

Bridge Road in Snape. Flood water from the tidal surge has started to recede.

Bridge Road in Snape. Flood water from the tidal surge has started to recede. - Credit: Archant

A leading Suffolk politician has voiced fears that the siting of new housing developments could worsen the flood risk across the county.

Christopher Hudson, deputy leader of the county council, said he was deeply concerned about the loss of farmland for housing – reducing nature’s ability to act as a soakaway and remove excess water.

Recent events in the north of England should act as “a wake-up call for the people of Suffolk”.

He said: “It’s blindingly obvious that we should not be concreting over greenbelt fields.

“If we’re not careful with planning we could end up flooding our neighbours.

The River Deben is flooding already. The people of Snape face flooding problems over and over again.

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“We must mitigate the risk and put more thought into the planning procedure.”

Mr Hudson said careful thought needed to be given to suitable development sites. He suggested proposed developments in Framlingham – at Fairfield Road and Mount Pleasant – were examples of the type of projects that could worsen the flood risks.

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He said: “We’ve got to regulate planning much more to take account of the flooding risk and what mitigation measures are needed.

“It’s a massive problem that is only going to worsen and so we need to give a lot more attention to where we allow new developments to take place.

“This threat is not going away and it’s the biggest issue facing planning since the war.”

He said the Pitt Review, written after the 2007 floods, had looked at the nation’s vulnerability to flooding and what should be done to reduce that risk – making more than 90 recommendations to Government.

These included the drawing up of a 25-year plan to address the issue of flooding, along with the creation of a dedicated Cabinet committee, with building on flood plains to be an “absolute exception”, only for areas of housing shortage with no alternative land available.

It also suggested an overhaul of building regulations for homes built or refurbished in flood-prone areas, stipulating construction materials and building techniques and drainage systems to serve new developments; and a definitive electronic map of all drainage ditches and streams, making clear who is responsible for maintaining them need, should be drawn up.

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