Persimmon 100 per cent confident homes are safe
- Credit: © Terry Harris
The UK’s second most successful housebuilder issued a ‘nothing to see here, move along please’ response to concerns over 220 homes being built in Whittlesey.
The Showground site can for now only be accessed from the town, with the flooded B1040 lapping at their doors. The road through to Thorney remains closed.
But Persimmon remains confident in the planning and flood alleviation measures that preceded their successful application to build there more than six years ago.
A spokesperson for Persimmon Homes said: “Having undertaken detailed flood risk assessment and designing the development in accordance with the Internal Drainage Board and lead local flood authority we have every confidence in our site.
“Every plot has been designed well above the flood plan and the drainage systems have been designed to ensure they function during extreme weather events and also in the event of the Nene Washlands also being in flood.
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“All of which has been approved by the local authorities and NHBC building control.”
That the B1040 is flooded is not unusual – it happens most years.
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The latest Government information release says “recent heavy rain has fallen throughout the last week over the River Nene catchment.
“This means that the Whittlesey Wash flood storage reservoir is being operated to protect nearby communities from flooding.
“The rising levels in the Wash have resulted in flooding of the B1040 road. Whilst the flood warning is in force, the local authority may close the B1040 for safety reasons”
The flood warning is expected to stay in place for at least a week until water levels recede.
The site was originally turned down for housing but in 2016 a fresh bid, ultimately successful, led to consent for housing being agreed there.
When planning officers at Fenland District Council produced their executive summary for a reserved matters application, they recommended it for approval. The town council had retained their objections.
Fenland Council noted that “the flood risks of the development were considered and the principle of developing the site was accepted.
“As such the concerns raised in respect of access locations, traffic flow implications and flood risks of the site are noted: however, these were matters explored at the outline stage and found to be acceptable”.
The 36-acre site was formerly agricultural land and was on occasions used for temporary agricultural shows – hence the name the Showfields.
In 2013 plans for 249 homes were refused and the appeal dismissed a year later However in 2016 a fresh application – this time for 220 homes – was accepted.
Originally it was intended various housebuilders would be involved but eventually Persimmon decided it would build them all – but in different phases.