Flood-hit villagers' fears over new homes

By Geoff Berkeley Wednesday 23 January 2013 Updated: 23/01 17:49

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Buy photos » Campaigners fear scenes like this at Squire's Walk in Kempsey could become more frequent if thousands of new homes are built in Broomhall and Norton. Picture by Geoff Berkeley.

FEARS have been voiced in Kempsey over a blueprint to build hundreds of homes on the edge of Worcester which campaigners claim will increase the risk of flooding in the village.

Sites in Broomhall and Norton have been earmarked for about 2,450 new homes in the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP).

They form part of the 23,000 homes included in the masterplan's allocation for the south of the county by 2030.

But Cathy Garner Oram, chair of Kempsey Flood Action Group, said she was infuriated by Malvern Hills District Council’s decision last month to join Wychavon District and Worcester City councils in supporting the SWDP.

Her home on Church Street has been flooded several times, including as recently as November and she can only see the problems getting worse if hundreds of new homes are built in Broomhall and Norton.

“We are upset by Malvern Hills’ decision,” she said.

“There are a number of proposed buildings which will have surface run-off that will flow directly into the Hatfield Brook. This could be a serious risk to the village," she said.

“If it does go ahead then we are really going to have to put a lot of pressure on the developers to make sure their sustainability and green credentials are really strong and they are not adding to the water table.”

Mary Dhonau, flood expert and consultant, said she was also disappointed by the plans and called on Malvern Hills District Council to ensure it created "one of the country's greenest developments".

"I don't want to see any unnecessary buildings in places which might cause flooding,” she added.

"It has got to have every possible green and sustainable solution to combat any risk of flooding."

A SWDP spokesman said all of the allocated sites had been assessed through the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment, with the latest results published last month.

“The study looked at flooding from rivers, streams and surface water run-off, and included an assessment of the Broomhall area and any flood risk from the Hatfield Brook,” he said.

“In addition to this, the National Planning Policy Framework ensures that all large planning applications, or those flagged up as being in potential flood risk areas, will require more detailed flood risk assessments at the planning application stage.”

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