Flood fears watered down

The land planned for a builders' merchants
The land planned for a builders' merchants
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Controversial plans to build a builders’ merchants on a field prone to flooding have been passed by Burnley Borough Council.

The application for the Empire Business Park site was passed despite fears expressed by neighbouring Lowerhouse Cricket Club and residents that any development would increase the chances of flooding.

Burnley Borough Council’s Development Control Committee heard that the plan would create more than 30 new jobs when it met on Thursday to consider the application.

The Burnley Express reported last week that the area in question, a large field above Lowerhouse Cricket Club and a number of residential streets, were badly flooded as recently as June last year when a freak rain storm submerged parts of the outfield, when water came cascading down from the land planned for development.

Ten letters of objection were sent from residents on Lowerhouse Lane, Thornhill Street, Lowerhouse Fold and Holyoake Street.

A letter, sent on behalf of all residents, stated that more buildings, tarmac, climate change and heavier rainstorms, would creat excess water which could put houses at risk of flooding.

The letter also highlighted that changes to the topography of the business park site had changed the natural run-off channels and gullies.

However, an amended Flood Risk Assessment submitted with the plan stated that the site falls within a Flood Zone 1 area, indicating that flooding from rivers or streams is unlikely.

The Burnley Council report stated that: “Notably, the issues relating to the localised flooding of the Lowerhouse area appear to be due to the United Utilities’ sewer network from a blockage or collapsed pipe somewhere offsite from the cricket ground. This is a matter for United Utilities to deal with.”

It also noted that the proposed development was capable of being satisfactorily drained to avoid an increase in the risk of flooding on the site or elsewhere.

United Utilities stated that it has no objections in principle to the development subject to the submission and approval of a surface water drainage scheme.