AN AFFORDABLE housing development is set to get the all-clear having lain empty for years after being blamed for flooding neighbouring properties.
New Forest district councillors are being advised to allow drainage alterations to the site of 45 homes in Fawley Road, Hythe, that were built at odds with plans approved in 2015, starting an ongoing wrangle.
On Wednesday NFDC’s planning committee will be recommended to agree Vivid Homes’ application, which will see a pair of soakaways – covered holes filled with rubble to help water percolate into the earth – replacing a drainage pond that was never dug.
A committee report said the drainage alterations had undergone extensive consultation and been judged “acceptable” by flood authority Hampshire County Council and a firm of independent consultants, Such Salinger Peter, instructed by NFDC.
It said both had advised that the scheme complied with planning policy that required it “should not increase flood risk elsewhere”.
The report concluded: “In these circumstances, and given the scheme’s significant benefits in providing much-needed additional affordable housing, it is considered the balance weighs very much in favour of granting planning permission.”
As reported in the A&T, in January Vivid rejected NFDC’s request for more time to consider the issue and threatened to launch an appeal over how long it had taken to make a decision.
The report added: “Officers do not feel it is appropriate for a determination on this application to be delayed any longer, when the development is largely complete, and given the pressing need to deliver homes within the district to meet the needs of the area.
“It is clearly regrettable that better progress has not been made in addressing members’ previous concerns, but this is largely outside of officers’ control.”
When the planning committee last considered the revised proposals in October last year, members voted against a recommendation to approve and asked instead for further investigations.
The council has received ongoing complaints from John Penny, of Forest Lodge Farm, which lies at the bottom of a steep slope on the eastern side of the development.
He has reported flooding and damage to buildings that did not occur before the new homes were built.
Mr Penny’s own consultant, Herrington Consulting, has said there was not enough information to determine the new system would solve the problems.
According to the planning committee report, the development is complete apart from eight flats, which suffered a devastating blaze in 2018. The properties have been taken off the market while the drainage issues are resolved.
Vivid Homes bought the site in 2015 after the original planning permission was gained by Burton Property Ventures.