Flood risk sends new ground floor soaring

A new house built at the side of this property must have a ground floor living space raised 5ft 10in above the garden. SG030217-148TW
A new house built at the side of this property must have a ground floor living space raised 5ft 10in above the garden. SG030217-148TW
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The long term flood risk in Spalding means a couple building a new home must put the living space 1.8m (5ft 10in) above the garden.

Mr and Mrs Philip King have been given outline consent to build alongside their existing house on the corner of Halmer Gate and Cley Hall Drive.

District councillors heard the home will face Cley Hall Drive, and look conventional from the outside, while it includes “an internal staircase to serve habitable rooms”.

The Environment Agency (EA) insisted on finished floor levels being set no lower than 1.8m and similar stipulations will affect house building in many parts of South Holland and Lincolnshire – making some sites too costly to develop.

An EA spokesman told us: “With regards to developments in Spalding our advice takes account of the fact the town is at risk of flooding from both the River Welland and from the sea – the Welland is tidal up to Marsh Road sluice.

“Typical land levels across the town in the area between the River Welland and Coronation Channel are between three and four metres above national datum (sea level).

“Predicted flood levels in the tidal Welland are around seven metres above datum by the end of the century. Therefore any failure of the defences would result in significant flood depths in this area.”

The Free Press asked about implications for the disabled and the elderly, who often need to live in bungalows with easy access.

The EA spokesman said: “We recognise there may be challenges for certain types of development, in some locations, to be safe from flooding whilst also meeting other requirements, such as for disabled access.

“Our remit is to provide advice regarding flood risk. It is the role of the local planning authority to approve or reject proposed developments, balancing our flood risk advice against all the other aspects the proposal. This is common across the country and there are many examples of where developments have been made safe against potential flooding whilst meeting other needs.”

South Holland planning committee chairman Roger Gambba-Jones said the EA “are hardening their position” on flood risk conditions and their stance varies from street to street and from one end of a street to another.

He said: “It isn’t a blanket approach – their modelling is very sophisticated.”

Coun Gambba-Jones said the issue has been affecting Boston for quite some time, which has brought about changes such as garages on the bottom floor of house builds so the living space is at the right height.

Bourne-based Larkfleet Homes will be trialling a house that can be raised on jacks at Weston later this year.

A spokesman said if tests are successful, the company “can foresee this type of house making it possible to build economically in many areas where the flood risk currently makes building uneconomic.”

• What do you think? Email lynne.harrison@iliffepublishing.co.uk