New housing developments and flooding – a pattern seems to be emerging

On January 14, we wrote about flooding in the Stanford-le-Hope area: A lack of joined up thinking = a clusterf**k! One of the contributory factors was excess water running into neighbouring streets and an adjacent stream from the Stanford Meadows housing development that’s being built by Persimmon. This is despite the developer having dug two ponds to contain floodwater on the edge of the site, both of which were overwhelmed. This is what you get for building on a floodplain and not paying sufficient attention to the hydrological consequences of your housebuilding on the surrounding environment.

Over in Basildon, there’s another situation with a new housing development under construction sending excess floodwater into a neighbouring residential area: Basildon homes flooding: Families fear waters will devalue homes. Unlike Stanford Meadows, Redrow’s development is on top of a hill. Rainwater hitting a hill top housing development is only going to go one way and that’s downhill. It’s gravity…it’s what we were taught about in school!

When a developer is building a development on top of a hill, if there are neighbouring residential areas, you would think they would take that into consideration and undertake whatever works are necessary to eliminate any flood risk. Whatever Redrow may or may not have done in regard to this, it wasn’t enough as residents in Rantree Fold watching their gardens turn into swamps will tell you.

Somehow, we suspect these are not isolated incidents. A combination of developers trying to squeeze the last drop of profit from their developments plus a planning system that doesn’t seem to be able to grasp the concept of joined up thinking is leading to situations like this all over the place. We’re not NIMBYs and realise that a certain number of new homes are needed. However, what is also needed is the full involvement of local residents in the planning process to ensure issues like flooding can be eliminated. In other words, trust the common sense and wisdom of the people…

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