Here’s a copy of our latest letter to the Council regarding flood defences and the Aida factory…..
Sent to Carole Mills (Council Chief Executive)
Cc’ed to Chris Poulter (Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Strategy and Policy)
Matthew Holmes (Deputy Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Strategy and Policy)
Paul Clarke (Head of Planning and Chief Planning Officer)
Jonathan Smale (Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Streetpride)
Martin Repton (Local Cllr)
Lisa Eldret (Local Cllr)
Jack Stanton (Local Cllr)
As Chair of the Little Chester Residents Association I have just become aware from OCOR, that the package 1 flood defences designed to protect Derby City are being built to a 1 in a 100 + 5% climate change allowance specification, and not to the 1 in 100 + 30% c.c.a. specification that the Environment Agency (EA) currently recommend.
Defences built to the 1 in 100 + 5% spec. were over topped causing flooding in other parts of the country in 2015 eg Keswick,York.
Hence the reason the EA amended the recommended specification.
Please could you confirm why the decision was taken by DCC to continue to build the package 1 flood defenses to a spec that was breached in 2015?
This brings further into question,the current DCC Housing Regeneration strategy to build housing on the former Aida site on City Rd, Chester Green, which is located next to the river on low ground to the east side of the Derwent.
The EA previously objected on flood risk grounds to a Miller Homes’ application to build housing on the former Aida site and it was withdrawn.
The EA only withdrew their initial objections to Prime Construction’s application in 2018 to build offices on City Rd, on the east side of, and next to the Derwent, because it was for a less vulnerable non residential proposal.
The EA have recently objected on flood risk grounds to an application to build housing on the nearby Waterside Inn site, also on the east side of and next to the Derwent.
The EA commented in their objection to the Waterside Inn application:
“Areas behind flood defences are at particular risk from rapid onset of fast-flowing and deep water flooding, with little or no warning if defences are breached”.
“the new OCOR hydraulic modeling shows that in a 1 in 100 year event including a 30% climate change allowance, the defenses would over top and this could result in flooding of depths of up to 0.73m”.
Derby City Council objected commenting:
“As an authority, we are continually investing in schemes that remove people from flood risk. This development would do the opposite and introduce additional people to risk”.
Despite all these objections by the EA to residential development on the low ground on the east side of, and close to the river Derwent, DCC Housing Regeneration officers still maintain they can design a scheme which the EA will approve as safe for residents and emergency services.They cite EA approval to applications for sites on higher ground on the west side of the Derwent as evidence, but those sites have safe egress/access routes to higher ground which is not the case for the Aida site.
Housing Regeneration officers say they will only be able to obtain a judgement from the EA on flood risk once they have designed and submitted a detailed planning application.The initial proposals officers instructed architects to design for the Aida site did not address either safe egress/access or prohibition of ground floor habitation so were a waste of time and money.By the time detailed proposals are finalised by DCC, Great Northern Classics who have submitted an alternative proposal for a less vulnerable non residential Heritage Vehicle Training Centre, will have reluctantly been forced to take their scheme to an alternative site outside of Derbyshire.(though if a prompt decision were to be made their proposal may not be lost)
If as looks highly likely, the EA were to maintain an objection to housing development on the Aida site which is in Flood Risk Zone 3a, DCC would have to appeal to the Secretary of State.
Due to the serious nature of the concerns please could you confirm:
Why the decision was taken by DCC to continue to build the package 1 flood defences to a specification that was breached in 2015?.
Whether and why you support housing development on the former Aida site, when this will introduce additional residents and emergency services to flood risk and danger?.
Whether you share our concerns that if housing development on the former Aida site were to be prohibited and DCC having rejected GNC proposals for a less vulnerable non residential Heritage Vehicle Training scheme, that this site with its many constraints, is unlikely to be developed and likely to remain derelict in the future at great cost to DCC?.
In light of the recent A52/Wyvern scheme issues, where incorrect council officer advice has proven to be extremely costly and the Grenfell Tower case, where a local authority’s planning approval of unsafe development resulted in fatalities and put emergency services at risk,I would ask that you urgently review both of DCC’s decisions to reject GNC’s non residential proposal and to continue to progress an unsafe housing scheme on the former Aida site.
Due to the urgency and serious nature of the concerns I look forward to your response.
Little Chester Residents Association”