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West Winch homes fears after flood objection lifted by Norfolk County Council

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A drainage board has raised concerns after it was not consulted over the decision to lift a flooding objection dating back years ago for a major housing development plan.

Norfolk County Council’s Lead Local Flood Authority has lifted an objection dating back to 2013 for the outline application of up to 1,100 homes on land west of Constitution Hill in the West Winch area.

The East of Ouse Polver and Nar Internal Drainage Board (IDB) has a holding objection for the south of the site.

The A10 at West Winch. Fears have been expressed over extra homes causing too much strain on the road
The A10 at West Winch. Fears have been expressed over extra homes causing too much strain on the road

The board is concerned there is no trace to the Puny Drain for surface water to run off, and requested to review the design.

General manager Andrew Newton said: “We are holding an objection until further details are provided and there needs to be consent of the board to accept the plans.

“If we are not happy with it then they would be stuck. There are legal processes and they would be breaking the law to not gain our consent.”

A stakeholder meeting took place this week without the drainage board. The West Winch Local Stakeholder Group, is chaired by borough councillor Richard Blunt, cabinet member for development, and consists of parish councils, the Neighbourhood Plan Group and local ward members.

A West Norfolk Council spokesman said: “The county council is the statutory consultee for major development and lifted their drainage objection as the developer has located an alternative surface water connection point and has a right to discharge.

“The borough council welcomes comments submitted by the IDB and will address them as part of the planning application.”

Fears have been expressed the Hopkins Homes development will be built before a relief road. This has been highlighted in light of a possible 500 home application also being granted off the A10.

West Winch Parish Council chairman Terry Gibson said: “Everybody in the village is very concerned about the plans for the development and have known about them for years.

"The general consensus when the Neighbourhood Plan came into law a few years back was there should be no development without a bypass.”

He added: “The drainage is clearly going to be a problem without the drainage board and they clearly need to be invited to discussions.”

West Norfolk Council has said it is working closely with the county council to enable the planning application for the housing access road to come forward and to seek government funding.

A spokesman for the council said: “The purpose of this group is to provide a local community perspective in relation to the growth area and give local stakeholders the opportunity to make meaningful comment and contribution on all aspects of the development and delivery of the growth area.

"This group will consider many aspects including; consideration of individual planning applications, phasing of developments, and the development masterplan, progressing the road design and facilities provided at different phases.

"It is incumbent on the developers to demonstrate the highway impacts of their proposals and suggest any mitigation, and for the planning authority to take a view as to how many houses of the full application should be allowed, by way of a condition of the planning permission, before the road is built.

“Conditions will be set for drainage, flood risk and phasing of the housing and road.”

He added: "The work we are currently doing with county to secure funding is to enable the development to happen sooner – it is a proactive and collaborative approach to accelerate the process. The parish councils and Neighbourhood Plan Group are being consulted as part of these proposals."

West Norfolk county councillor Alex Kemp has expressed her fears about West Winch and the A10 being unable to cope with additional traffic from the proposed homes.

She said: "The county council is irresponsibly removing the flood risk objection. The drainage board objection still stands because of the impact downstream.

"Councils shouldn't bury their heads in the sand."

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