Round-Up: Flood Forum, New Developments, And The Local Plan
May 25th 2016
2013 flooding in Hubbards Hills
Flood ForumOn Friday, 20th May there was a flood forum for Louth and Horncastle and held in the London Road pavilion in Louth. This was chaired by Victoria Atkins MP, and it brought together a number of experts from the drainage boards, ELDC, LCC, the Environment Agency, and Anglian Water to discuss the topic.
After introductions, Deborah Campbell from the Environment Agency gave a presentation about the Louth and Horncastle Flood Alleviation Scheme. This is a scheme funded by a number of agencies and councils that will prevent the rivers Lud and Bain from flooding, and should protect 185 houses in Louth and 169 in Horncastle. The short version is that these are both going to plan, and will be ready for their official openings around late summer this year, although they will work to protect residents before that.
I asked Jonathan Glerum, Flood Risk Manager for Anglian Water, what his company would do about the periodic flooding on Eastfield Road which can result in residents having to deal with raw sewage in their homes and gardens. Mr Glerum's response was threefold:
1. They will provide mitigation for affected homes, hardening some properties against flooding. This is already taking place.
2. Downstream there is an old abandoned 450 ml sewer that they will bring back into use, starting now.
3. They will be refurbishing the water recycling works. This project will start around 2018.
After I spoke, Louth resident Malcolm Bouchier asked about the impact of planning proposals for houses near 82, Eastfield Road. This was a highly contentious application which was approved for outline permission in the face of residents' objections about flooding and other issues in 2014. In my opinion that application should never have been permitted.
Chris Panton, ELDC's Chief Planning Officer, pointed out that the planning department has to be able to defend any refusal in front of a planning inspector, and that if the statutory consultees (such as Anglian Water in this case) don't respond then there's a limit to what the council can do.
Whilst Mr Glerum did pledge that Anglian Water would be more responsive to commenting on planning applications, he also mentioned that they generally "only look at applications involving more than ten properties." That didn't go down well with some members of the audience, who included residents from a number of villages which experience flooding problems.
It was hard not to feel sorry for Mr Glerum, who was in the firing line for many, if not most, of the evening's complaints. However, this is the price of privatisation.
Basic pay for Anglian Water's chief executive and managing director is £480,000 from April 2016, not counting bonuses which can rise to £1.8 million. The company also spent £372.5 million in share dividends in 2014/15. Worth remembering the next time you find yourself cursing Anglian Water for failing to invest in the sewage infrastructure.
Town CouncilThe Louth Town Council meeting of Tuesday, 24th May was dominated by housekeeping issues over the chairing and constitution of various committees, plus a number of small-scale planning applications, all of which the council supported. However, in the public forum the developer Richard Morton gave a short presentation about proposals for 100 houses at the back of Chestnut Drive in Louth. Whilst councillors brought up issues of traffic, flooding, and the high density of buildings, there wasn't enough time in the public forum to discuss this application at length.
The Local PlanELDC is preparing to put its draft Local Plan out to public consultation, and will meet on 26th May to discuss it in full council. Once agreed, the plan will carry a lot of weight in future planning decisions, so it's very important for local residents to have their say on the proposals, which involve a large allocation of over 1000 houses, as a minimum, to be built in Louth over the next 15 years.
Devolution is also on ELDC's agenda, and again that is likely to go out to public consultation later in 2016. That's a topic for another post, as is the current consultation on the closure of Customer Access Points. There are some significant consultations coming up, and I hope they don't give people survey fatigue because a lot is at stake.
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