Why the Horncastle drain no-one can find could be costly

Councillors Brian Burbige and Fiona Martin at the supposed site of the Mareham Road drain
Councillors Brian Burbige and Fiona Martin at the supposed site of the Mareham Road drain

Town councillors in Horncastle are to contact developers behind a housing development in a bid to halt fears of a ‘drain’ on its coffers.

The council owns land near to a site for more than 120 new homes off Mareham Road.

Developers have finally been given the go-ahead to build on the land following months of wrangling.

One of the key concerns raised by councillors and residents was flooding.

It has been confirmed that developers will only be responsible for draining the actual housing site.

The council - and local householders - have been warned they could be responsible for the condition of a drain which apparently runs through their land.

That drain will carry 
water to the main Thunker’s Drain.

Maps, which supported the planning application, indicate the line of the smaller drain.

Despite site visits - and talking to residents - councillors can’t find any evidence it exists.

Coun Fiona Martin, speaking at last week’s town council meeting, said she could not find any evidence of the drain.

She said there was no visual sign of the drain on council-owned land - and no record of any underground pipes.

Coun Martin added: “I have been up there and can’t see anything and no pipes are marked on our deeds.”

She stressed that householders were in the same position.

She said there was a potential issue because riparian rights mean landowners could be responsible for any flooding claims - if a particular section of drain is found to be at fault.

Coun Martin said that it was amazing East Lindsey District Council had not raised stronger objections, despite the fact developers had only checked 54 per cent of drains in the vicinity.

She added: “The line is clearly shown on the map but we can’t seem to find anything.

“We need to do something because this could be an open ended cheque.”

Councillors have taken legal advice about the drainage issue.

However, they were told the matter was complicated because a solicitor at the company they had contacted is a trustee of the land sold for the homes.

Coun Stuart Attwood suggested the council should write to the developers, asking for evidence that the drain does exist - and exactly where it is.

He added: “If it is on our land, we need to know.”

Coun Attwood said the drainage issue should have been ‘sorted’, before planning permission was given.