The planning application was an in part retrospective application for the filling in of a ditch on land to the north of Maxey Road, Helpston.
The main considerations were:
· Drainage and surface water flood risk
· Impact on visual amenity
It was officer’s recommendation that planning permission be granted, subject to the conditions set out in the report.
The Head of Development and Construction provided an overview of the application and raised the following key points:
· When development on Maxey Road had originally been approved, the ditch was to be retained. The ditch had initially been isolated and subject to periodic scraping in order for water to drain from the highway.
· The developer departed from this plan and installed a pipe drainage system. Following this a retrospective application was submitted, then subsequently withdrawn.
· The current proposal retained the pipe drainage system and connected this to the existing Internal Drainage Board network.
· The highway verge would be regarded to slope toward the ditch, thus eliminating the need for periodic scraping.
· The Internal Drainage Board had no power to retrospective schemes, however had not expressed any objections.
· It was determined that the landscaping plan would not be affected, nor would it affect the pipe drainage system.
· Additional comments has been received from the Parish Council and residents.
Councillor Over, Ward Councillor, addressed the Committee and responded to questions from Members. In summary the key points highlighted included:
· The village of Helpston had grown and its rural nature had almost been destroyed.
· The dykes within the village were a traditional feature and worked to drain away flooding from the fields.
· The village was prone to flooding, with a number of houses built on raised banks.
· The proposed pipe drainage system may work for one or two years, but after five or 10 years the land may shift and break.
· The adjacent road was very narrow and cars would park on the verge, which could crack the pipe.
· Further infill development would continue to cause ongoing problems.
Mr Smith, Helpston Parish Council, addressed the Committee and responded to questions from Members. In summary the key points highlighted included:
· The dyke had previously run off to a nearby drainage channel.
· The retrospective application was not necessary, as the initial application had identified the dyke as a feature.
· The developer was circumventing the planning system by a ‘planning creep’ process or subsequent, retrospective applications.
· The trees that had been removed from the site had previously assisted in clearing any flooding.
· The application ignored the man-made causes for flooding.
· It was considered that the surface water situation had worsened since building work had commenced.
· It was believed that traffic parking on the verge would damage the pipe, which would then provide inadequate drainage.
In response to a question the Head of Construction and Development advised that as there was sufficient parking provided on site and that the verge was a highway verge, it was not considered necessary to provide a feature to physically block parking on the verge. It was likely that ownership of the ditch would be transferred with the properties on site.
The Senior Engineer (Drainage) clarified that, under the Land Drainage Act, the owners of the properties that fronted the swale would be responsible for its maintenance, regardless of whether they owned the land itself.
The Committee expressed concern that the developer had installed the pipe when it was not included within the original permission. It was questioned whether the proposed system would attract any maintenance costs. The Committee further discussed the improvements associated with the pipe drainage system and the benefits these would provide.
In response to questions from the Committee the Senior Engineer (Drainage) advised that the proposal would eliminate any problems previously experienced with blockage and pollution, as debris would be filtered out, leaving only clean water drain into the pipe. In relation to cars parking on top of the pipe, there would be a considerable slope down to the pipe so parking would be unlikely. Any damage inflicted through cars running off the road would be rectifiable. It was further clarified that the Internal Drainage Board had inspect the pipe works and were happy with where it lay and the size of surrounding stones.
A motion was proposed and seconded to agree that permission be granted, as per officer recommendation. The motion was carried six voting in favour, three voting against.
RESOLVED: (six voted in favour, three voted against) that planning permission is GRANTED subject to the conditions set out in the report.
Reasons for the decision
Subject to the imposition of attached conditions, the proposal was acceptable having been assessed in the light of all material considerations, including weighing against relevant policies of the development plan and specifically:
- The proposed amendment to create a drainage swale not unacceptably reduce the capacity to accommodate surface water run-off and the level of the land would allow for water to run-off from the public highway. As such, the proposal would not result in any increased flood risk to either the public highway or surrounding area, in accordance with paragraph 100 of the National Planning Policy Framework (2012), Policy CS22 of the Peterborough Core Strategy DPD (2011) and Chapter 6 of the Peterborough Flood and Water Management SPD (2012); and
- The proposed amendments would not result in any unacceptable impact to the character, appearance or visual amenity of the surrounding are, in accordance with Policy CS16 of the Peterborough ore Strategy DPD (2011), Policy PP2 of the Peterborough Planning Policies DPD (212) and Policies Help 7 and Help 13 of the Peterborough Design and Development in Selected Villages SPD (2011).