FLOODING - Concerns over developments

In the light of recent severe flooding events in Cumbria, Lancashire and Scotland, I am reminded of the time I first came to live in Horncastle more than 50 years ago.

This was only three years after the 1960 Horncastle flood which was then still fresh in people’s minds.

On that day of October 7, Horncastle entered the UK weather records with the highest 180 minute total of rainfall of 178mm.

Horncastle is situated geographically in a ‘bowl’ with the confluence of the Rivers Bain and Waring, plus the input from Thunker or Scrafield Beck.

This makes the town subject to periodic flooding from either raised river levels or from storm surface water and can happen with alarming rapidity as many residents have repeatedly experienced.

While everyone hopes that the Hemingby flood alleviation scheme currently being built will lessen the danger of flooding, it is worth noting that the severe event of 2012 came not from the Bain but from the sky!

I also note in reading about the 1960 flood that raised water levels came from the Waring and Thunker Beck, as well as the Bain.

Like many others, especially those who have since also suffered from flooding problems in the past,I am minded to point out reservations many feel about the wisdom of building so much new housing development where once absorbent open land becomes covered with bricks.

This suggests that more surface water run off may be created during periods of heavy rain and storm.

The larger of these proposed developments which have already been passed - ie: Langton Hill and Mareham Road - would also appear to be on elevated ground relative to the town centre.

These, along with several other developments, will already be more than enough for the town’s drains and rivers to cope with, without adding the impact of any further larger development.

In this respect, it is understandable that there appears to be substantial opposition and objection to the Crowder’s application.

With climate change a reality, the future weather is now difficult to predict as Storm Desmond followed by Storms Eve and Frank would suggest.

Both the Environment Agency and the Royal Meteorological Society have recently pointed out on TV that current modelling to predict the frequency of storm events is no longer always reliable.

Who can say for sure when a major storm event will hit Horncastle as it did in 1960 and subsequently in other years? The future becomes more uncertain.

Both reason and common sense would suggest that both the relevant agencies and the Local Planning Authority look carefully at the possible implications of future flood risk that could result as the cumulative impact of so much unnecessary over-development in Horncastle.

If clear assurances cannot be given that any further large scale building project would not add to the town’s current flooding problems, then it would appear only sensible, and in the best interests of the town and its residents, to put any further granting of planning permission on hold as from now.

As another Environment Agency spokesman said to the BBC recently - “People must come first.”

David Weston

Mark Avenue, Horncastle