Sutton Bridge development rejected as councillors are not convinced by case over flood risk
Fears over flooding saw a 123-home plan refused - despite a challenge by the developer over the data used by councillors.
Loyd Homes wanted to build the development on land next to Nightingale Way, Granville Terrace, Withington Street and Chestnut Terrace in Sutton Bridge.
QC David Manley attended last week’s planning committee meeting to make the case for the developer - but councillors stuck by an officer’s recommendation to refuse the scheme.
Land covering 76 of the homes had previously had permission - but the remaining 47 are on land classed as ‘danger for all’ in the council’s strategic flood risk assessment.
Mr Manley said the council was behind in delivering affordable houses in Sutton Bridge - and that the applicant had worked with the Environment Agency, looking at new data not used by the council in its assessment.
He said these figures showed the disputed area of land was ‘at no more risk of flooding’ than the site allocated for housing in the Local Plan - and highlighted that the Environment Agency does not object to the plan.
Coun Jack Tyrrell asked why there was a gap between the verdict of the applicant and the council - and was concerned the decision may be challenged.
Officer Richard Fidler said Mr Manley was referring to data that had not been published - and said the council was comfortable it could still make a ‘sound decision’ based on its current policy.
Coun Roger Gambba-Jones said: “It’s a dangerous approach to start disagreeing with such a fundamental thing as our strategic flood risk assessment.”
Coun Chris Brewis said he supported the officers’ verdict with ‘absolute delight’ and ‘absolute enthusiasm’ - with ward member Michael Booth pointing to issues with water running from Bridge Road and pressures on the roads near the development as he urged the committee to refuse the plan.
Coun Andrew Woolf questioned what had changed from before - with 129 dwellings having been rejected in January 2021 - while Coun Bryan Alcock said that the plan may come back into consideration if there is a lack of development in the area, and that the council’s flood data may need to be reviewed.
After members voted to reject the plans, the QC suggested he would challenge the decision as he left the council chamber.