Flooding fears raised at inquiry into plans for new Blackpool homes

The Warren Drive site
The Warren Drive site
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Flooding risks, loss of green space and additional traffic congestion were the main objections put forward at a planning inquiry into a bid to build 86 new houses in Blackpool.

Blackpool Council is defending its decision to refuse an application by Lovell Partnerships to develop nearly eight acres of land at Warren Drive in Norbreck which is currently open space.

Councillors Maxine Callow, Tony Williams and Paul Galley along with residents gave evidence at the town hall hearing chaired by independent planning inspector David Cullingford.

They said flooding in November 2017 had forced some people already living in the area out of their homes for more than six months in some cases.

It was feared building additional homes on a site branded "swampy" by local people would increase the risk of a further serious flooding event.

Keith Leary, of Warren Drive, Norbreck, told the inquiry: "The building of more houses will create additional fears of flooding for the rest of our lives.

"The builders will move away leaving the residents to face their problems on their own."

The November 2017 flooding was a one-in-64 years flooding event, but Lovell says its scheme will incorporate measures to withstand an up to one-in-100 year storm.

These will include elevating parts of the development and stormwater storage including oversize pipes, cells and a detention basin.

But Coun Paul Galley said residents remained concerned even with these enhancements that building on the land would increase the flood risk.

He warned: "How long could the system survive if it carried on raining?"

Concerns were also raised about the impact of the development on traffic at the Warren Drive/North Drive roundabout which it was claimed was already congested at peak times.

The hearing was also told the land, which is owned by supermarket giant Asda, was designated as urban green space by the council although plans to build offices there had been approved in 2004.

However David Manley, QC, representing Lovell's, said the council could not justify refusing the application.

He said its own planning officers had recommended the application for approval, and there had been no objection from either water company United Utilities or the Environment Agency.

Mr Manley said: "I would say the authority has totally failed to produce any evidence to substantiate their reasons for refusal."

The inquiry is expected to reconvene in March, after which a decision will be made by the inspector.