A YORK MP has raised concerns in the House of Commons over a lack of planning safeguards to stop housing being built on flood plains.
Conservative MP for York Outer Julian Sturdy has called for a national debate on the matter after recently raising concerns about City of York Council’s proposals to build large housing developments in “flood-risk areas”.
Mr Sturdy said in Parliament: “With the country suffering some of the worst flooding in living memory. Is it not time that we started to learn the lessons of the past?”
He is urging the council to rethink large housing developments around York, including the 650-house site at Germany Beck in Fulford, which was granted planning permission last year.
A new town of 5,500 houses near Heslington, to be known as Whinthorpe, and a further 750 houses to the north of Haxby have also been proposed by the council, despite being located in areas prone to flooding, the MP’s office saId.
But in response, City of York Council has said housing developments would not be built on areas of “high flood risk”.
Coun Dave Merrett, cabinet member for transport, planning and sustainability, said: “Housing developments are not permitted to be built on areas of high flood risk in York.
"Furthermore, the council works closely with all applicants through the planning process to ensure that all new homes and buildings that may be proposed to be built in areas where there is any flood risk are suitably protected. However, it’s important to stress that the process used rules out areas within the flood plain.”
He said proposals outlined in the Local Plan are draft allocations subject to further examination and added that developments are not allowed to increase the flood risk and are required to have effective drainage.
In Germany Beck he said the developer has provided appropriate flood mitigation measures as well as wider Government funded improvements on the A19.
Responding to Mr Sturdy’s concerns in the House of Commons, leader of the house Andrew Lansley said 99 per cent of planning decisions on housing by councils last year were in line with the Environment Agency’s flood risk advice.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Sturdy said he was unconvinced. He said: “It has been revealed this week that almost 200,000 homes have been approved to be built on floodplains by the Environment Agency since its formation in 1996.
"As we have seen, this has been a recipe for disaster, and the council needs to rethink its short-term and potentially dangerous fascination with building in areas at risk of flooding.”