Science

Homes plan near Gloucester deferred after fears it would lead to manholes ‘overflowing with sewage’

A decision on plans to build 160 homes near Gloucester has been delayed after residents warned it would lead to toilets and manholes overflowing with sewage. Tewkesbury Borough Council planners debated today (February 15) a scheme by Robert Hitchins Ltd to develop land off Brook Lane in Twigworth this week.

The developer is seeking permission to build the new homes on 12 acres of agricultural land. And their proposals include a range of homes across the site with varying sizes from large, detached properties through to smaller terraced forms.

The development proposes 35 per cent affordable housing on the site which equates to 56 houses split between affordable rented and shared ownership. Council officers had recommended approving the scheme subject to a legal agreement with the applicant.

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But more than 20 people objected to the scheme and parish councillors say the flood risk maps for the area are not up to date. Down Hatherley Parish Council chairman David Evans told the planning committee they should be aware of the serious flooding and catastrophic failure of the sewerage in Ash Lane in December 2020.

He said: “Run off from the fields rapidly subsumed the system in Ash Lane, the pumping station failed, the sewerage system backed up, toilets overflowed, sewage spewed out of the manholes and many houses were flooded with a toxic mixture of flood water and raw sewage.”

Cllr Evans said no future development can safely be approved unless the waste infrastructure is overhauled and modernised. He also said it was utter nonsense that the proposal site was not deemed to be at risk of flooding.

He sad: “Look at the evidence local people have repeatedly been providing. The site itself was under water for most of last winter. The Environment Agency flood maps of the area are grossly out of date and the flood risk advice you are accepting is totally flawed.”

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Twigworth Parish Council chairman George Sharpley echoed these concerns. He said the site is identified as having a flood risk of once in a thousand years however it has flooded three times in the last 20 years. “I appeal to you to get a hold of this before it is too late,” he said.

Lesley Jones, an objector, also spoke against the plans on behalf of local residents. She said there was an increased risk of flood to their homes and there has been no consultation with locals regarding the access which would cross Brook Lane, a private road and public bridleway.

Phil Hardwick, head of planning at Robert Hitchins Ltd, spoke in favor of the proposals which he said would provide much needed affordable housing.

He also said it would provide a net gain in biodiversity, pedestrian improvements near Norton Garden Center and better bus stops. Mr Hardwick said the plans accord with the development plan and that planning permission should be granted without delay.

Ward councilor Graham Bocking (Con, Innsworth) said there had been a long battle to get flooding evidence for the area updated. He also said there was no capacity at local schools for more children.

Cllr Bocking called for the scheme to be refused or deferred until these issues could be resolved. Cllr Paul Ockelton (Lib Dem, Innsworth) proposed deferring the scheme for more information and this was seconded by Cllr Mary Jordan (Lib Dem, Churchdown St John’s).

The committee voted to defer the proposals by 11 votes to two.

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