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Shocking number of new homes planned for highest flood risk areas in Kirklees

New study exposes possible risks

Hundreds of new homes destined for Kirklees could be built in areas with high flood risk.

Figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government have revealed the proportion of new residential builds situated on land in the Environment Agency’s top flood risk category.

The Environment Agency flood map showing blue areas at high risk of flooding around Leeds Road

In Kirklees, the council currently has planning permission for 7,000 new homes and has confirmed around 7% of those - about 490 homes - are in high-risk areas.

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Areas of high risk cover approximately ten per cent of England. They are areas estimated to be at risk of at least a one in 100 chance of flooding each year from river areas or estimated to have at least a one in 200 chance of flooding from the sea.

Floodwater in Calder View, Lower Hopton, leading to the McInerney Homes development after the River Calder burst its banks.

However, as flood risk is calculated based on past events rather than climate projections for the future the likelihood is that flooding will occur more frequently than once every 100 years.

In Kirklees, there are high-risk areas alongside the River Colne through Bradley Mills and Deighton and on several parts of the River Calder.

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A spokesman for Kirklees Council said: “There is currently planning permission for over 7000 new homes within Kirklees. It is estimated that of these which have approval, around 7% will be in Flood Zone 3, the highest flood risk zone.

The swollen River Calder in Lower Hopton burst its banks during heavy rainfall.

“In the very few instances where homes were approved to be built in Flood Zone 3 the internal floor levels for those homes were set above the predicted flood level and the housing developer was required to provide additional measures and strategies to deal with instances of flooding. This approach is in line with the guidance in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).”

A study also revealed the number of homes in green belt land.

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There is an outcry at the moment over Kirklees’ Local Plan, with thousands of homes possibly on the way to the existing Bradley Park golf course and a huge swathe of green belt land near Ravensthorpe.

Nationally just three per cent of new houses were constructed on green belt land in 2014.

The swollen River Calder in Lower Hopton. The Ledgard Bridge Mill apartments complex is at the top of the picture.

The Kirklees spokesman said: “In the green belt the NPPF allows for instances were new houses can be built on previously developed land where the impact of the new houses would not have a greater impact on the openness of the green belt than the buildings they replace.

“It is also possible to convert former factories, mills and other buildings into houses and flats within the green belt. In addition the recent expansion of Permitted Development Rights has also allowed instances were vacant farm buildings can be converted into houses. Of the 7,000 plus houses with planning permission, less than 11% is on land designated as green belt.”



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