Flooding fears allayed as new homes approved

The site of the proposed new homes next to the golf course in Swarland. Picture from Google
The site of the proposed new homes next to the golf course in Swarland. Picture from Google

Flooding fears were allayed as an outline bid for new homes in Swarland was given the go-ahead last week.

The application for nine homes on land south-west of The Old Tweed Mill, which would be accessed from Springwood, was approved by eight votes to zero, with one abstention, at last Thursday’s (November 22) meeting of the North Northumberland Local Area Council.

Newton on the Moor and Swarland Parish Council had objected on the basis of drainage concerns and the impact on highway and traffic infrastructure, but the council’s flooding and highways teams raised no concerns, subject to conditions and previous changes.

Planning officer James Bellis explained that they had been working with the applicant for some time on the drainage issues and Coun Trevor Thorne sought further assurances from sustainable drainage officer James Hitching.

Mr Hitching said that the site currently has a small 100mm pipe crossing it which cannot take all of the water during heavy rain, which then backs up into a ditch before flooding the golf course, the housing site and the gardens of homes to the east.

The proposed scheme will improve this situation by providing an area to take additional water if there is flooding and will ensure that the development will not increase flood risk elsewhere.

Coun Catherine Seymour asked about the road concerns and was told by highways officer Graham Fairs that the homes would only result in one additional trip every eight to nine minutes at peak times. “Construction traffic will need to be carefully managed,” he added.

Moving approval, Coun Thorne said: “Not only do I think this won’t contribute to flooding, I believe it will assist in reducing flooding in Swarland by limiting the amount of water that builds up.”

The scheme had sparked 10 letters of objection from neighbours, including the owners of the Percy Wood golf course, which borders the site’s western edge.

Their objection is based on the potential future restriction on the operation of their business, in relation to the impact of stray golf balls on the development and the impact on the floodlighting on the occupiers of the new homes.

However, following discussions with the public protection team, planners felt that these issues can be dealt with through conditions attached to the permission.

At the meeting, Daniel Gregg, from Lichfields, representing the golf club, said that his client was not against the principle of the development, but was keen to be involved in discussions around measures to deal with surface water and flooding.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service