A question that needs answering

This was one of the posts we put up after the extensive flooding that occurred across the area we cover on January 14th: After the flood…the questions… Our initial focus was on where we live in Stanford-le-Hope but when we heard about the flooding all the way up the Mar Dyke, we turned our attention there as well. We realise that because of a complex range of issues, there’s no one simple answer as to why the flooding was so bad. What is safe to say is that a lack of joined up, holistic thinking when it comes to the planning process hasn’t helped the situation.

This may or may not be speculation but some people are wondering if the filling in of the formerly flooded Bluelands quarry near Purfleet was one of the contributory factors to the flooding in the lower Mar Dyke valley on January 14th: Where has all the water gone? Council says removal of lake has played no part in recent Mardyke flooding as answers continue to elude flood victims. The former quarry is being filled in prior to the construction of a large warehouse facility. You can read the planning application here.

We’ve had a scan through the application and while there is obviously a lot about minimising flood risk on the actual site, there’s a lot less about the impact of the development on the surrounding area. As far as we can make out, the Bluelands quarry filled up with water because there was a spring feeding it. Now we’re not hydrologists but something tells us that if a spring fed flooded quarry is being landfilled, the water from that spring has to go somewhere. A holistic planning system would ask the question of where that spring water goes, whether it flows away from the site of the development and if it does, what needs to be done to reduce any flood risk.

Well, surprise, surprise, we do not have a joined up, holistic planning system that properly considers the impact of developments on their surroundings. Which is why we end up with Stanford Meadows already under construction, another development on the other side of the railway adjacent to Victoria Road due to commence later on this year and permission just granted for houses to be built on marshland at Little Thurrock – all on flood plains! When the driver to development is turning a profit, other important considerations don’t get the consideration they should because the planning system is not geared up that way.

With all of these developments, anyone with any common sense can see there are going to be issues because of the lack of joined up thinking. As we said in this lengthy post – Imposed change and a lack of control – over on our sister blog, Estuary Stirrings, planning and development are things that are done to us mere plebs rather than anything we can have a meaningful say in. How many more screw ups do we have to tolerate before this changes?

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