Flooding fears at homes site

CONCERNED residents have expressed fears about the impact a planned 2,500-home development will have on their houses after the land earmarked for the scheme suffered heavy flooding at the weekend.

This picture (right) shows how a deluge of heavy rain overnight on Saturday and into yesterday caused fields near Greatham Beck, on land planned for the new properties at Claxton and near the Fens, to become swamped by in parts up to four-and-a-half feet of water.

Concerned home-owners living nearby claim the problem will only get worse if houses, roads and other building infrastructure is given the go-ahead.

Andy Easter, 65, a member of Fens Resident’s Association, which has objected to the plans, took the photo of the land close to his home in Newark Road.

The retired chemical industry worker and dad-of-two, who is married to Brenda, said he would rather see new development on a brownfield site and added: “That’s all agricultural land and it’s a good soak-away but if you build houses, roads and paths, that is going to reduce the soak-away.

“The preferred developers are saying they are going to put some drainage system in to compensate but they also know they can’t run any extra floodwater or drainage into the beck because it’s full to capacity.

“This is just after 14 hours of heavy steady rain and is as bad as I can recall after living in Newark Road since the houses were built in 1969.”

A public examination by a Government inspector is due to decide the future of the extension on January 28 next year.

Residents’ association chairman Michael Ward, of Wisbech Close, said: “These photographs are very disturbing and more heavy rain forecast over the next couple of days could lead to the flooding of houses.

“Before any permission is granted for 2,500 houses on land immediately to the west of this area perhaps an embargo could be put on these plans until an independent assessment of the impact of such a development has taken place.”

The residents’ association appeared in the Mail earlier this month and urged people to compare the plans of preferred developer for the site, Yuill Homes, with its own proposals, should it get the go-ahead.

The plans also include a local centre with community facility, medical centre, petrol filling station, parade of shops, primary school and children’s play areas.

Yuills have taken part in several public consultation events, allaying fears over concerns about drainage issues as well as loss of countryside and wildlife habitat.

Meanwhile, several roads in Hartlepool and East Durham were closed yesterday after the heavy rainfall.

The A689 eastbound between The Wynd roundabouts was closed until around 7pm and Front Street, in Wingate, was closed for around 90 minutes yesterday morning.

Firefighters from Peterlee Station spent the morning pumping water from the road between Wingate and Station Town.

Flood warning signs were also put up in Front Street, Shotton Colliery, as well as the Blackhall to Hesleden road.

Part of the A1086 Coast Road between West View Road, in Hartlepool, and Eleventh Street, in Blackhall, was passable only with care for around four hours yesterday afternoon.

Met Office experts predicted more heavy rain throughout today and this evening.