Flash floods spark fears over impact of future housing plans on West Winch

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Flooding problems in a village near Lynn will only get worse if major housing developments in the area are given the go-ahead, a councillor has warned.

Three homes in West Winch were damaged by flash floods following torrential downpours last Friday afternoon.

And although contractors have been clearing drains in the area this week, the village’s borough councillor, Paul Foster, fears the issues could be much more serious in the future.

As previously reported, West Norfolk’s local development framework currently envisages 1,600 new homes being built in the West Winch and North Runcton area by the year 2026, as part of a wider plan for thousands of properties across the borough.

And outline plans to build just over 1,100 homes on land near the Hardwick roundabout, on the edge of the village, have already been proposed by developers.

But Mr Foster said the village’s parish council, which he also chairs, has already had to pay for work to be carried out to solve drainage problems which are believed to relate to water draining off nearby fields – a problem that he can only see getting bigger if the currently envisaged house building rates are pursued.

He said: “If you concrete over an area, all the water has got to go somewhere. Even if you put soakaways in, it’s only delaying it.

“They (the borough council) will put papers out saying it won’t (cause flooding) but we know, in reality, it will.”

The parish council has already objected to the current housing proposal for the area, submitted by Hopkins Homes on a number of grounds, including flood risk.

But a borough council spokesman yesterday insisted the authority was conscious of the problems that already exist in the West Winch area and had contributed to a specific study of the issue.

She said: “The results of that study will be used by the borough council and the local communities and shared with potential developers to ensure a comprehensive drainage system is designed and implemented across the area.”

She added: “Surface water drainage and more generally flood risk is a consideration in the plan making and development management processes. The detail of how surface water will be treated is normally dealt with at planning application stages.”

Meanwhile, Norfolk County Council contractors have been in the area this week to clear drains in the wake of last week’s downpours.