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Threat of Legal Action Over Potential Flooding in King’s Sutton

January 2nd, 2013

Banner Homes SiteKing’s Sutton residents who have suffered flooding to their homes in recent years are threatening legal action if a new housing development makes matters worse. Banner Homes gained planning permission two years ago to build 40 new houses on land contiguous to water meadows in the village. Work on the new development is scheduled to start next month. However, Banner Homes left it until just before the Christmas holiday to submit plans for dealing with sewerage and water run-off from the site, which many King’s Sutton residents fear will greatly exacerbate the village’s existing problems with flooding. 

Having examined Banner Homes’ latest plans, residents have expressed concerns on a number of issues:

  • They believe there may be insufficient capacity within the cellular crates that form the underground storage and soakaway system (SuDS)* proposed by the developer to deal with excess surface water.
  • They fear that siting the SuDS under residential property could make annual maintenance impossible and it is not clear in any case who will be responsible for ongoing maintenance once the development has been completed.
  • There is as yet no clear indication of which sewerage measures will be put in place. (The existing pumping station operated by Thames Water is regularly overwhelmed by surface water infiltration, which has led on several occasions – most recently in November/December 2012 – to raw sewage contaminating streets in the village.) 
  • The Black Brook, which carries surface water from the flood plain into the River Cherwell, is already very quickly overwhelmed during periods of prolonged rainfall. Despite this, Banner Homes intends its SuDS to discharge into the Black Brook.
  • Residents say there is an insufficient buffer zone between plots nine and 10 of the Banner Homes development and the Black Brook. (Original planning consent was granted for a wider buffer zone between the site’s southeast boundary and plots nine and 10, which are in an area that frequently becomes water-logged.)
  • The original application promised a large proportion of affordable housing for the benefit of village families. However, Banner Homes has successfully applied for a significant reduction in the affordable housing to be built on the site. 

A small group of residents has engaged a legal firm to act on its behalf and has given notice to Thames Water, to the Environment Agency and to South Northants Council that compensation claims will be made against one or more of them in the event that “inadequate pre-planning measures ultimately lead to new flooding- and sewerage-related issues...” The group has been advised that independent claims could also be submitted and potentially funded from each plaintiff’s household insurance policy. 

* Click here for background information on a typical cellular crate-based SuDS. Please be aware, however, that the system described on this site may not be the same as the one proposed by Banner Homes.

Deadline for Comments on Latest Banner Homes Plans
King’s Sutton residents are entitled to submit their views on the latest plans from Banner Homes by email or post. The deadline for submission is Wednesday, January 9, 2013. Officially referred to as an “application for Reserved Matters Approval,” the plans and relevant documents can be viewed on South Northamptonshire Council’s on-line planning register here

Those without Internet access can inspect the application at the council’s offices in Towcester at any time between 08:45 and 17:15, Monday to Thursday and up to 16:45 on Friday. (If you wish to speak to the Case Officer, you should make an appointment before visiting the office.) The application also comes up for discussion at the next meeting of the parish council’s planning committee, which takes place in the first floor Astrop Room of the Millennium Memorial Hall at 19:00 on Thursday, January 3, 2013.

Letters/emails to the planning authority should clearly indicate the application number (S/2012/1535/MAR) and state whether you are objecting/supporting/commenting on the application. If commenting by email, please also remember to include your postal address. The council will inform you of its decision in due course. 

Click here for useful information about making comments to the planning authority. 

Posted comments should be sent to:

Mr Daniel Callis
South Northamptonshire Council
NN12 6AE 

Use the appropriate email link in the Quick Contacts section of this site to email the council’s planning department.

Residents are also free to send their views to Thames Water and the Environment Agency:

Thames Water
Developer Services
Rose Kiln Court 
Rose Kiln Lane 

Use the appropriate email link in the Quick Contacts section of this site to email Thames Water’s Developer Services department.

Environment Agency
Nene House
Pytchley Lodge Road
NN15 6JQ

Use the appropriate email link in the Quick Contacts section of this site to email Mr O'Neill .

Please note that by law, any letter/email you write to the planning authority is not confidential and may be read by others including the applicant. South Northamptonshire Council will not consider any anonymous letters/emails that make representations on applications. 

Our picture of the Banner Homes site was taken by Banbury Lane resident Ian Shirley on December 15, 2012 and is one of several photographs showing flooding in the area that can be viewed here

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