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Go-ahead for homes plan despite flooding fears

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A West Norfolk housing development has been approved despite fears it could exacerbate problems with sewage and flooding, writes Owen Sennitt, Local Democracy reporter.Residents in Gayton, Pott Row and Grimston were hit hard this winter, with some people unable to use their toilets for prolonged periods due to sewer systems being backed up after heavy rain.It is an issue that has plagued these low-lying communities for years and it prompted a backlash against KHM Builders’ plans for 15 homes on land north of Howard’s Way, five of which will be affordable.

Howard’s Way at Gayton.

Many believe new housing developments have exacerbated the problems caused by the bad weather.Speaking at a West Norfolk Council planning committee meeting, Peter Gidney, of Gayton Parish Council, described the situation they face, with tankers working “round the clock” to pump water out.“The sewage system cannot cope. Building more homes will result in more flooding,” he told councillors. Councillor Bal Anota, who represents the ward, said: “The housing development itself seems sensible and will fit in relatively well. But we need to hold Anglian Water to account to give better representation.“These phased applications have an accumulative effect. If they think there is ample flow or capacity, well, speak to anyone in the room and they will say they don’t think there is.” Councillors acknowledged there are major problems in these villages with sewage and drainage but also supported the benefits the development would bring.It was proposed that additional conditions were enforced, suggesting strict mitigation measures to prevent groundwater and surface water from infiltrating the sewer system, which Anglian Water has blamed for the flooding issues the villages have faced.Councillor Brian Long said: “There is an ongoing problem in Gayton so the site needs to wash its own face and not cause any more run-off from groundwater.”The application was approved unanimously.

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