Parish Council’s Response to West Adderbury Flood Risk

As previously reported, Adderbury Parish Council have installed an unapproved and sub-standard drainage scheme on the Milton Road land.  

CDC planning officers have confirmed that:

“The approved infiltration basin has not been implemented as approved.  The current basin is not sufficient to eliminate the risk of flooding during peak rainfall periods by account of its size”.

Given the previous flooding that ocurred in Tanners Lane, Round Close Road and Horn Hill Road, West Adderbury Residents’ Association (WARA) wrote to the Parish Council to ask what:  “Adderbury Parish Council are doing to ensure that … properties are not at risk of flooding as a result of the development that is under construction on Land North of Milton Road, Adderbury. The fact currently is that their properties are at an increased risk of flooding … To this end could you please advise us, with timescales, when the corrected drainage scheme will be in place”.

The Parish Council has finally responded to WARA’s request, as follows:

“In response to your letter dated 16th August (below) please note that the Parish Council has discussed this matter with Cherwell District Council who have accepted that the attenuation works required under Condition 3 do not need to be completed until the full development takes place. The infiltration basin currently in place is acceptable to CDC and serves the field drainage scheme which is now in place beneath the area for the pitches.

As you may be aware the PC has a Flood Risk policy in place and always monitors any danger of flooding in the village.

Regards Adderbury Parish Council”

There are a number of issues with the Parish Council’s response, including the fact that the Parish Council have not apologised for causing an increased flood risk to West Adderbury properties, or provided timescales for implementing the correct drainage scheme.

WARA has therefore written to the Parish Council yet again:

“Dear Mrs Bratt and Councillors,

Thank you for your response to our letter dated 16th August 2020 regarding the flooding risk in Adderbury resulting from Adderbury Parish Council failing to implement condition 3 of the planning permission 18/0020/F before completion of the pitches and their associated undersoil drainage system.

We question whether Adderbury Parish Council has indeed had approval from Cherwell District Council that the attenuation works required to be installed under condition 3 of the planning permission do not need to be completed upon completion of the pitches.

We have it in writing from Sean Tilbury at Cherwell District Council that “The volume of the current basin appears to be significantly lower capacity than the approved design. The minimum volume was to be 100.8m3 according to the approved calculations and the proposed design was 150m3”. Sean Tilbury has added in writing “I also noted the outlet to the offsite brook which is not part of the final design”. We have engaged with Sean Tilbury at Cherwell District Council again on this and he has confirmed that he has written to Adderbury Parish Council to request that they install the Suds system with 150m3 infiltration basin that is required by condition no3 of the planning permission and he has not had a response. Your statement that “ The infiltration basin that is currently in place is acceptable to CDC” is not true. Nor is your statement that the infiltration basin that has been installed “Serves the field drainage scheme which is now in place beneath the area for the pitches”.

We have also consulted with Debbie Pritchard at Forge Engineering Design Solutions Ltd (the Engineer who designed the Suds System for Adderbury Parish Council) who has confirmed that the full Suds system and infiltration basin that is required by condition 3 of the planning permission should be constructed and implemented when the undersoil drainage system for the pitch areas is installed.

In any event it is wholly unacceptable that Adderbury Parish Council should ignore the intent of condition no 3 of the planning which is included in order to protect their own parishioners properties from flooding in the event of a prolonged period of rainfall.

Can you please therefore advise us when the corrected drainage scheme will be implemented such that we can put the minds of the people in West Adderbury, whose properties are currently at risk of flooding, at rest.

Yours Sincerely,


We understand that some West Adderbury residents have contacted Cherwell District Council to ask who will be liable if their properties are damaged by flooding as a result of the sub-standard work carried out by Adderbury Parish Council.

The response from a senior enforcement officer was that:

“The Council cannot always control every aspect of development through the planning system but this does not negate the landowner’s responsibility to comply with other aspects of the law.

Common law requires landowners to use their land in a way that does not increase the risk of flooding to neighbouring properties. Civil action could potentially be taken if somebody carries out an action on their property that results in flooding to another’s property but Officers are unable to advise on such legal matters”.  

According to the National Association of Local Councils (NALC), who provide legal advice for parish councils:

This leads us to the conclusion that if properties in West Adderbury are damaged by flooding as a result of the Parish Council’s work on the Milton Road field, then the Parish Council is potentially liable for damages if it can be shown to have acted negligently.  

Updates on this important issues will follow shortly.

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