Pond to make way for extra homes despite parish councillors' flood concerns

Plans were redrawn to remove a pond, which makes way for 13 new dwellings
Plans were redrawn to remove a pond, which makes way for 13 new dwellings

A planning application to replace a pond with 13 new dwellings at a housing estate has been approved despite flooding concerns from parish councillors.

Morris Homes submitted the application for its Wootton Fields development, much of which is already under construction, to replace the pond with a mix of one and two bedroom flats and three, four and five bedroom houses.

Planning officers at South Northamptonshire Council had recommended the scheme was granted, though local parish councils in Wootton and Hackleton objected as they believed it could lead to more flood issues as experienced in May 2018. The neighbouring Caroline Chisholm School suffered from several flooded classrooms during the flash rainfall.

But Mark Gatehouse, the technical director of Morris Homes, told councillors at a planning meeting in Towcester on Thursday (January 3) that the pond was only ever 'ornamental', adding: “It didn’t feature as part of the drainage.”

He also said that the drainage system coped with the 'unique' rainfall in May whereas others nearby didn't.

The application to replace the pond with 13 residential units was approved unanimously by the South Northamptonshire councillors.

Meanwhile, a second application for the same site that was discussed straight afterwards rubber stamped the layout, scale and appearance of 100 homes which had already been granted consent.

This application did, however, have the support of Hackleton Parish Council due to the amount of affordable housing - 50 per cent - that was on offer.

Mr Gatehouse said that Morris Homes had kept it to a 'traditional layout' and down to 100 homes rather than the 110 they could have had.

Councillor Ken Pritchard commented that it was unusual to see a developer build fewer homes than allowed, and Mr Gatehouse responded: "We want to make money, we wouldn’t be in this business otherwise. But we also want places people want to live in as well. We don't want to create ghettos where we shoehorn in as many properties as we can."

The second scheme was delegated to the assistant director for planning policy and development for them to grant permission.