Memorandum by Ryedale District Council
DEVELOPMENT AND FLOOD RISK
Thank you for your invitation to this Authority
to submit views regarding the issues of flood risk and prevention
to the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee.
Although Ryedale District Council welcomed Draft PPG25, it called
for continually updated guidance on emerging trends resulting
from ongoing research. The Authority also supported the risk-based
approach to considering new development in floodplains.
Ryedale District contains the twin towns of
Malton and Norton-on-Derwent, which were amongst the worst hit
of the many settlements affected by the recent extensive flooding
in England and Wales. Indeed, many other settlements in the District
were severely affected by the floods, including the town of Pickering.
The damage and disruption caused by the recent prolonged period
of flooding, which occurred only 18 months after a similar period
of extreme flooding in March 1999, has led to great misery and
hardship for many residents of the District and has significantly
harmed the local economy.
It is against the above background that this
Authority wishes to call primarily for a much greater degree of
integration between the bodies involved with flood prevention
and controlspecifically MAFF, the Environment Agency, internal
drainage boards and local authorities.
There is clearly now an immediate need for action
to prevent a repeat of the recent severe flooding, particularly
in the Malton/Norton and Pickering areas. To this end, Ryedale
District Council is seeking a clear Government direction for close
partnership arrangements to be established in Ryedale and other
severely affected areas. These partnerships should, as a minimum,
involve local representatives of MAFF, the Environment Agency
and the District and County Councils.
This Authority is also seeking support from
Government for the consideration of all possible options to alleviate
the harm and suffering caused by the severe flooding. A close
partnership of the key bodies should have a remit to examine all
possible options, not just the traditional range of measures that
are normally considered. It is important that the large sums of
money required for flood control (over £5 million is likely
to be required for a Malton and Norton scheme) are used with imagination
and with a view to the costs involved if hard flood defences alone
were to fail. In particular, this Authority considers that close
investigation is required of the use of compulsory purchase powers
in appropriate circumstances, to remove properties that are worst
hit by the flooding. The value of such properties is likely to
have been significantly affected by the recent floods to the great
detriment of property owners and a more sustainable option of
creating new recreational/park areas, which also act as washlands,
should also be investigated. Such a course of action would, if
followed in Norton-on-Derwent, also allow roads to be raised to
prevent future blockage by flooding and would also allow road
systems to be altered to improve traffic management and access.
This kind of approach would also allow the full integration of
flood control measures with the Local Plan process and the planning
of future infrastructure development.
Whilst hard flood defences, such as walls, can
clearly have significant benefits, there could be considerable
disadvantages in creating walls several meters high along either
side of the River Derwent between Malton and Norton. Not only
could this have significant detrimental effects on the ecology
of the River (which is designated as an SSSI and a SINC in this
area), but such a feature could destroy the townscape of the river
corridor and would represent a huge physical barrier between Malton
and Norton. NB. This Authority has sought to increase co-operation
and unity between the adjacent towns, which until 1974, were in
separate counties (East Riding and North Riding).
In addition to seeking Government support for
close partnerships and bold approaches to flood control, this
Authority also wishes to highlight two particular concerns which
have been heightened by the recent flooding:
(i) Redevelopment of brownfield land.
This Authority has long been concerned about
its ability to meet regional targets for accommodating housing
on previously developed land. However, the recent floods have
confirmed the susceptibility to flooding of a high percentage
of the limited number of brownfield sites that may be available
in Malton/Norton and in Pickering. Indeed, many of the limited
number of potential brownfield sites in these towns are either
wholly or partly in the floodplain. Consequently, there will need
to be full recognition by Government Office for Yorkshire and
the Humber of this major limiting factor when commenting on the
current Ryedale Local Plan and future versions.
(ii) Permitted development
This Authority is also concerned about the potential
impact of residential permitted development within floodplains.
Such rights potentially allow householders to develop up to 50
per cent of their garden area without requiring any permission.
The cumulative effect of such uncontrolled development could significantly
worsen the risk of flooding in "at risk" areas and the
Government are urged to give serious consideration to the withdrawal
of such rights for properties within floodplains.
In addition to the above, it would now be helpful
to receive clarification of the sort of considerations that could
outweigh the clear objections of the Environment Agency to a proposal
on the grounds of flood risk (paragraph 45 of Draft PPG45). The
current guidance gives little indication on this important issue.
I hope that the above comments, which represent
the initial response of the officers of this Authority, will be
helpful to your Committee in their deliberations.
Local Plans and Conservation Manager
17 November 2000