Parish Council Breaches Planning Conditions AGAIN

In our recent post we explained how Adderbury Parish Council has breached two official planning conditions associated with the Milton Road land.  Cherwell District Council have now confirmed that the Parish Council have contravened yet another condition, this time associated with drainage.

Under Condition 3 of the planning consent 18/00220/F for the Milton Road land, the Parish Council are required to install an officially approved drainage scheme (referred to as FEDS – 218041 – Rev A) prepared by Forge Engineering Design Solutions Ltd.  The reason an approved drainage scheme is needed is to ensure satisfactory drainage of the 7 acre site, to avoid flooding of adjacent land and property.

The Parish Council’s contractors, D W Clarke, have now stripped vegetation from the field (in contravention of planning condition 18, according to CDC) and have levelled the area that will form two adult football pitches (in contravention of condition 8, according to CDC).  In the last few days, the drainage solution for the two football pitches has been completed.

Unfortunately, as shown in the email below from Sean Tilbury, CDC Development Monitoring Officer, Cherwell District Council have officially confirmed that the finished drainage scheme is NOT the approved scheme, but a much cheaper, more basic version, which will potentially not provide the proper flood protection.

“I visited the site last Wednesday to inspect the drainage and I can confirm that the approved infiltration basin has not been implemented as approved.  The current basin, which I can only assume is a temporary measure, does not meet the capacity required and the outlet going offsite is not part of the agreed scheme.
Following my site visit on Wednesday I asked a drainage engineer to inspect the basin which he did on Friday. 
The completed pitch drainage system is likely to concentrate surface water into the location of the drainage basin.  The current basin is not sufficient to eliminate the risk of flooding during peak rainfall periods by account of its size, however it does serve to alleviate the risk to some extent. 
Essentially, while the basin is considerably undersized it is better than there being no basin at all.  Altering or removing the outfall into the offsite ditch is not likely to bring any significant improvements in the short term and this outfall should not be necessary once the basin is built to the correct capacity. 
The current basin amounts to unauthorised engineering works without planning permission”.   

You might wonder why this matters.  Actually, if you live on Horn Hill Road, Road Close Road or Tanners Lane, it should matter quite a lot.  

As discussed in another recent post, the unapproved drainage scheme installed by the Parish Council drains a massive area (literally the size of two football pitches) into a single ditch to the north of the Milton Road field.  Many residents will be aware that this ditch then runs into a field drain that passes under Horn Hill Rd and along Round Close Rd, eventually draining into the Sor Brook by the Lucy Plackett Playing Field.

In recent years when this drain has become blocked, water from the Milton Road field and from the nearby underground springs has been forced above ground, causing serious flooding to houses on Horn Hill, Round Close and Tanner Lane.

The flood water you see in the photograph above is not necessarily nice clean rain water, or even spring water.  The field drain also runs alongside Adderbury Cemetery, where the issues with flooded graves are well known.  We shudder to think what that fireman might be wading through.

We know that the Parish Council is aware of the importance of this field drain.  Parish Council Chair Diane Bratt herself described it as “an important watercourse”.  Why then would the Parish Council choose to install a potentially sub-standard scheme which could lead to rainwater pouring unchecked into a crucial field drain that runs through the heart of West Adderbury?

But then why would the Parish Council breach two other official planning conditions set by Cherwell District Council?  To breach one planning condition may be regarded as a misfortune; to breach three looks like more than just carelessness – it almost appears as if the Parish Council, unlike the rest of us,  believes it should not have to bother with planning conditions.

Or is it simply that these planning conditions relate to a site in West Adderbury, only affect residents of West Adderbury, and therefore don’t matter?

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