‘It will happen again warns flood victim’

15:56 20 December 2012

Jayne Blackmore with her flood gates.

Jayne Blackmore with her flood gates.

Archant

Feniton residents says the village’s flood and drainage problems should be resolved before any more developments are given the good ahead.

A Feniton resident says she lives in fear that her property will be flooded and has called the decision to submit applications for further housing in the village as “diabolical”.

Jayne Blackmore, of Salisbury Close, would like to see the village’s flooding and drainage problems vastly improved before any more developments are given the go-ahead.

This comes after Strategic Land Partnerships re-submited a planning application to East Devon District Council, which was previously refused in December 2011, for a development of 120 homes in Ottery Road.

An alternative development of 59 homes has also been submitted.

Mrs Blackmore said: “It is just fight after fight and to bring an application just before Christmas and when people are tidying up after the floods is diabolical.”

The 54-year-old’s home was previously flooded in 2008 and she took matters into her own hands, purchasing flood gates costing £3,000 which prevented her home from being flooded last month.

A number of residents in Salisbury Close had to be evacuated by firefighters from floodwater.

Simon Steele-Perkins of Strategic Land Partnerships told the Midweek Herald the submissions were a response to EDDC’s refusal of the previous plans and its decision to refuse the Acland Park site as well as the inspectors decision regarding the Wainhomes scheme and possible future submissions.

He said: “Against this background we felt it important that we make further submissions now in order that the local community is properly able to compare and contrast the pros and cons of each.”

He added: “We have significantly reduced the scale of our proposals and we remain very happy to have an open dialogue to explore how and when the infrastructure and funding benefits that would arise from the development can be delivered.”

Mrs Blackmore said: “Our drains can’t cope - over the years they have built more houses but they haven’t updated the drainage system.

“I am not against development but I don’t want to see development until the flooding and drainage system is sorted out.”

The village’s flood problems, she said, are caused by water run-off at a number of sites in the village.

Mrs Blackmore also feels the village is not as sustainable as the new Cranbrook development because of the infrastructure, limited rail service and overstretched community services.

She said: “I am frightened it will happen again and I think it will happen again. Feniton has a long history of flooding – it is historical.

“I couldn’t go through it again.”

She added: “Because we are not near a river, we are not high on the agenda.”

Mrs Blackmore understands flood mitigation measures could cost £1.6million and has questioned whether developers would be willing to pay this.

Due to space limitations we were unable to get in a fuller response in the paper.

Mr Steel-Perkins said: “We have a great deal of sympathy with the residents of Feniton who have, in our view, been badly let down by decision makers at various levels over many years, but particularly recently.

“The flooding problems at Feniton have been going on for decades and I can see no good reasons why properly worked up solutions were not identified years ago.”

He said: “Had the authorities elected to engage with us over a year ago permanent solutions could now be well advanced, as would the school capacity problems and the Wainhomes scheme may not have been allowed.”

“The flooding issues, foul drainage system under capacity and the problems at the school need to be resolved in any event, with or without new development at Feniton.

“So the question, surely, is how best to bring forward these solutions, particularly at the moment whilst public money is so limited. The only realistic prospect seems to me to be work with landowners and developers to secure the benefits and the funds.”

He added: “Our proposals will not put increased pressure on the school because it will provide additional land for the expansion of the school, they will not worsen the flooding situation because they will provide immediate relief in the form of flood defence measures for the two neighbouring cottages and delivery of part of the village-wide flood scheme and funds to progress the remainder.

“The site is downstream of the village so cannot worsen the most serious problems just north of the railway line. “

Mr Steel-Perkins added: “The Government has introduced an incentive to Local Authorities to deliver new homes. This equates to just under £10,000 per house payable to the Local Authority. With the 50 houses now permitted on the Wainhomes site it is not difficult to see how additional funds from even our reduced scale proposal could generate sufficient funds to pay for this essential piece of infrastructure, perhaps together with money from DEFRA if the current bid is successful.

“We understand that some local residents would prefer that no development should take place at Feniton but to maintain continued objections could deny those who perhaps have not spoken up, the opportunities to protect the village against flooding, dramatically improve the primary school and to put the village on a more sustainable footing for the future.”

He said: “East Devon District Council needs to identify land to accommodate and deliver over 15,000 homes over the next 14 years. These cannot all go to Cranbrook, and in fact Cranbrook will be able to deliver only a small proportion of this.”

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