Go-ahead to build homes on flood plain

A plan to build 150 homes on a flood-plain at Caister will go ahead despite concerns over flooding.

A plan to build 150 homes on a flood-plain at Caister will go ahead despite concerns over flooding.

The site on West Road was granted permission in 1999 when there was less legislation surrounding building on floodplains.

After much opposition, the application was referred to the secretary of state by the council's development control committee for a final decision.

If the council had withdrawn the outline planning permission, it could have faced paying millions in compensation.

But after almost three months, the government last week returned the decision to the council.

Councillor Patrick Hacon, member for South Caister, who was involved with the granting of the application, said he “despaired” over the situation.

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He accused the developer of chasing after the compensation and said he did not believe the housing estate would ever be built. “I realise I was involved in granting outline permission and I admit that was a mistake and I am prepared to face up to that,” he said.

“The site has outline planning permission and we can't take that away now, but I don't think it will go ahead. It's unworkable and just not worthwhile for the developers.”

And he said he did not know the issue had been raised until he was e-mailed by a council officer informing him of the decision.

Tony Overill, chairman of Caister Parish Council, said he was “absolutely disgusted” with the decision of the secretary of state. “It has already been admitted by the borough council that granting outline planning permission was a mistake. It was the wrong decision. It's like a hot potato. The council put it to the secretary of state in the hope that the application would be withdrawn, getting them out of paying compensation.

“Given the troubles elsewhere in the country this week with flooding and the loss of life, can it be right to build houses on a known floodplain area?

“The Association of British Insurers has stated that they will not insure properties built within a floodplain area, so who will live in these houses? There is just no sense in it.”

Developer Bloor Homes said it had not been hoping to get the compensation and that work would begin soon.

Regional manager Andrew Marns said: “There was an extensive flood risk assessment done. We would not have got permission if we had not been given the go-ahead by the Environment Agency.”

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