Proposed removal of pond from housing estate leads to parish council flood concerns

The plans are being altered to remove the pond
The plans are being altered to remove the pond

Parish councils are concerned that the removal of a ‘balancing pond’ in an approved housing development could lead to flooding.

Morris Homes Eastern Limited is applying to alter some of the previously approved house type mix to create a net increase of 13 residential units at its Wootton Fields development.

The proposed dwellings feature a mix of one bed and two-bed flats and three, four and five-bedroom houses. This includes five affordable units (four three-bed houses and a solitary one-bed flat).

But more controversially the scheme also includes the omission of a pond at the site, which borders the B526 and Newport Pagnell Road, to make way.

And that has set alarm bells ringing during consultation, with members of Wootton Parish Council saying they were ‘very concerned’ to receive the application which details ‘the omission of the previously proposed nonfunctional pond’.

The council adds: “The original planning application clearly shows this as a balancing pond not a ‘non-functioning pond’. The parish councillors are very concerned that replacing a balancing pond with 13 dwellings will increase the possibility of more flooding.”

The council’s concerns come after flash flooding affected Wootton in May earlier this year, with several classrooms at Caroline Chisholm School ‘almost destroyed by water’ it said.

Hackleton Parish Council has also registered its ‘serious concerns’ over the change, and disputes the developer’s assertion that the pond is ‘non-functioning’, while objections have also been received from seven residents.

But South Northamptonshire Council’s planning officer states that the proposal ‘will cause no harm in terms of surface water flooding’ either within the site, on land immediately adjacent to the site, or further downstream on the Wootton Brook.

Members of the council’s planning committee will meet this afternoon (January 3) at The Forum in Towcester to vote on whether to follow officer advice to approve the variation to the original planning consent.