December’s floods will not cause Kirklees councillors to re-think their planning blueprint, the Local Plan.
Parts of Kirklees ended up under water after torrential rain on Boxing Day.
Kirklees Council has now revealed it has secured government aid for victims of the floods caused by Storm Eva on Boxing Day and Storm Desmond, earlier in December.
Critics of the Local Plan, the council’s blueprint for 30,000 homes, have warned that flooding will get worse as more homes are built, removing trees and vegetation that soak up water and increasing pressure on drainage systems.
The huge planning blueprint features about 200 sites which could be offered to developers for new housing and dozens more for commercial use.
At a full meeting of Kirklees Council at Huddersfield Town Hall, Clr Kath Pinnock, a former leader of the council, asked if planning chief, Clr Peter McBride, would “order a review of the allocations in the Local Plan following the recent floods?”
Clr McBride responded: “No” and sat down.
“It’s very unfortunate that he won’t commit to saying the recent flooding is an issue of paramount importance.
“Would you change your mind if you knew that one of the sites in the plan was four feet under water at Christmas?”
Clr McBride said he would not.
He said: “Very careful planning was done with our drainage and a lot of work was done with the Environment Agency.
“All of that information will be put forward into the consultation process.
“I’ve had no evidence from the Environment Agency that they want to re-think any of the advice that they’ve given.”
Council leader Clr David Sheard said: “We were extremely lucky on Boxing Day because the water that fell on Calderdale could have easily fallen on Kirklees and then we would have had flooding to the level that they had.
“We’ve been meeting with Yorkshire Water who are big land owners in Kirklees.
“The way to stop flooding is to catch the water at the top of the hills. They’re looking at a lot of tree planting.”
Almost 2,200 properties were flooded in Yorkshire last month, causing an estimated £365m in damage.
Kirklees escaped the worst but, nevertheless, the council said it had managed to get some of the flood relief funding pot for residents and businesses.
A spokesperson for the council said: “Kirklees was fortunate compared to its neighbouring authorities when the storms and flooding hit in December.
“This money will help make sure we can support the small number of homes and livelihoods that have been devastated, however this money will only be available for a short time and the sooner we know who needs help, the quicker we can give support.”
For more information see www.kirklees.gov.uk/community/flooding , e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01484 221000 and ask for flood management.
Applications must be made by February 29.