Plans for 110 new homes on hold over flooding fears in Hartlepool

The entrance to the site of Valley Drive where there are plans for 110 new houses

The entrance to the site of Valley Drive where there are plans for 110 new houses

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Final planning permission for 110 new homes has been put on hold for a month over flooding fears.

Developer Taylor Wimpey has outline approval for the development at Tunstall Farm, off Valley Drive, in West Park, Hartlepool.

High water levels in the beck in Valley Drive after Storm Desmond

High water levels in the beck in Valley Drive after Storm Desmond

Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee was due to decide whether to grant permission for the scheme’s outstanding matters including appearance, landscaping, layout and scale of the development at its last meeting.

But they decided to defer making a decision for one month after heavy downpours during Storm Desmond saw water levels rise worryingly high in a beck that runs through Valley Drive.

Councillor Ray Martin-Wells, who is on the planning committee and also a ward councillor, said: “We very nearly had a flooding situation over that weekend.

“It was not a massive, one in a hundred year type storm yet it nearly flooded.

My concerns are if the flooding issue isn’t solved in a couple of years I’m going to be left with up to 300 stranded residents in a single cul-de-sac because there is no other access

Coun Ray Martin-Wells

“The Environment Agency are also warning of high tide and extreme weather for December 25 to 27, so a decision was deferred for a month. Let’s see how the beck is performing over that period.”

Coun Martin-Wells said an installation to prevent debris clogging up the drains in the beck did its job but the water still rose very high.

He added: “My concerns are if the flooding issue isn’t solved in a couple of years I’m going to be left with up to 300 stranded residents in a single cul-de-sac because there is no other access.”

Outline permission for the housing was originally refused by the council in April 2014 with concerns it could increase the chance of flooding in Valley Drive and worries about emergency vehicles being able to access the new housing.

The debris collector in the beck

The debris collector in the beck

The decision was overturned by the Planning Inspectorate on appeal in January who said drainage works as part of the development would improve the flood-risk situation rather than make it worse.

Objections included concerns about the number of houses, loss of greenbelt, flooding, pressure on local school places and create extra traffic congestion.