‘Unconvinced’ by the Loxley Valley appeal inquiry’s flood risk review, Sheffield Hallam MP Olivia Blake outlines huge community and personal concern.
Ms Blake’s concern came primarily from multiple photographs and videos submitted to her by her constituents, taken several years apart, showing the area and its surroundings being routinely flooded.
The Public Inquiry is taking place to consider the appeal against Sheffield City Council’s refusal of a planning application by Patrick Properties Strategic Land Limited.
Ms Blake claims that building hundreds of homes on a flood plain would place unjust risk on its residents.
She said: “I am unconvinced the flood risk assessment shows any significant or innovative response to the flood risk.
“The reason I have chosen to raise flooding is because of the pictures I have been provided with. I’m not convinced by the flood risk assessment that has been done, and that is my view and one that is held by many of my constituents as well.”
However, her concerns were refuted by Christopher Katkowski QC, a key player in the inquiry appeal, who said relevant authorities had reviewed and agreed flooding is not an issue.
He said: “The council, the environment agency, and all of the relevant authorities do not raise flooding as an issue, because they are all satisfied that it is being satisfactorily dealt with in the proposals that we have put forward.”
She responded: “I understand that those authorities may have come to a different view, but I do have concerns about the flow and speed of water which are likely to be increased by some of the flood defences.”
Mr Katkowski responded: “You say: ‘They may have reached that view.’
“There’s no may about it, they have definitely reached that view.”
The plans are for a residential-led mixed-use development, on land at the former Loxley Works off Storrs Bridge Lane in Sheffield.
The Public Inquiry recognises the ‘anecdotal’ reports of the site having flooded historically downstream of the developed areas within the site.
There’s a bit more than “anecdotal” evidence!… pic.twitter.com/bQmtroij3Y
— Friends of the Loxley Valley 🍃💚🍃 (@FriendsLoxley) May 29, 2020
The report predicts extensive flooding only in the woodland area where minor channels are exchanged between the Mill Leat and the River Loxley.
Despite this, the report states: “This flooding is not of great significance, as the area which is affected is undeveloped and is not proposed for redevelopment.”
Regardless, Friends of the Loxley Valley group have been campaigning to defend the greenbelt and protect it from urban development.
We got off lightly compared to many parts of the UK this weekend. Even so, there were torrents of water washing down the valley sides through the old factories and into the River Loxley. Is this really a sensible place to build a new township of 350 houses? pic.twitter.com/mbEBGZUtaQ
— Friends of the Loxley Valley 🍃💚🍃 (@FriendsLoxley) February 17, 2020
They recently hit their £15,000 ‘fighting fund’ target, which will be used to pay for professional planning experts.
They hope to also receive legal representation in the Public Inquiry to aid the defence of the Loxley Valley against planning.
The full meeting can be found at http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMeiDxsrPXw&t=10123s