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Dickens Heath residents fear new development will make flooding risk even worse

Dickens Heath residents are lodging a formal complaint after Solihull Council rubber-stamped plans to build new homes on a site “which was left looking like a lake” after recent heavy rain

Dickens Heath residents are lodging a formal complaint after Solihull Council rubber-stamped plans to build new homes on a site “which was left looking like a lake” after recent heavy rain.

Less than a month after Solihull Council granted approval to build 23 new homes in Griffin Lane, the field due to be developed was left waterlogged.

During the same downpour, apartments along the village’s exclusive Waterside development were badly flooded - forcing around 15 families to move out of their homes until the New Year.

And now there are questions about the wisdom of allowing expansion, when flood defences have already failed to protect existing homes.

Resident James Hodgetts accused the local authority of ignoring residents’ warnings and said a complaint was being made about the councillors’ handling of the application.

“That land is essentially acting as a floodplain and there are real worries about how much worse the problem will become once it’s built on,” said the 37-year-old. “We had a definite sense that the council felt it had to approve the scheme because of the shortfall in housing locally.

“The people in those apartments have had to leave their homes until after Christmas. They’re living in fear that it will happen again.”

Father-of-three Duncan Kellett, who lives at Waterside, said that his family had woken up on November 25 to find that several inches of floodwater had swept through their home.

“It’s a ground floor apartment so it wiped almost everything out,” he said. “We have been told it’ll be three or four months before we can move back in.

“For me the flood defences [which include a levelling pond and drainage channels] have failed and it seems that the council and housebuilders are just passing the buck.

“With plans to expand and build hundreds more homes in the years to come, I think it’s only fair that this is sorted out. But I don’t think it will be easy in this financial climate.”

A Solihull Council spokesman said the application for Griffin Lane had been assessed by the Environment Agency, who raised no objections.

“It is on this basis that the application was considered acceptable in flooding terms,” they added.

 

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