At a Bradford Council Planning Panel (Regulatory & Appeals Committee) on 15 October 2014, faced with division about the risk of flooding on the proposed site at Bingley Road, Menston Action Group offered the Committee funding to ensure that an independent expert be instructed to provide a substantive report on the hydrology issues relative to the specific site and other proposed development sites in Menston.
Bradford MDC’s Principal Drainage Officer, Tony Poole, denied that Menston has suffered flooding or drainage problems, other than ‘self-inflicted’ blockages through “inappropriate materials being flushed into the drains”, notwithstanding the fact that he had been given photographic and video evidence from numerous occasions of serious flooding. He also confessed that he had not read the welter of evidence from previous reports such as that from Sirius Consulting and from Menston’s expert, Professor David Rhodes. He preferred to rely upon the assertion from the developer’s experts to the effect that any flooding and drainage issues could be managed if housing was constructed. He was not prepared to accept that there were longstanding problems relating to groundwater flooding (as opposed to surface water flooding), nor was he ready to acknowledge that there were culverts from the moorland unknown to Yorkshire Water, seasonal springs, and covered watercourses running through Menston, which might render existing and new housing in Menston more prone to risk of flood if construction was to proceed.
Bradford’s solicitor, Tim Driver, agreed that the Council could accept MAG’s offer to pay for the independent report, but could not be “fettered” to accept its conclusions. The report would have to be submitted to the R&A Committee for further scrutiny after examination by Council Officers. Councillor Doreen Lee commented that “We have looked at these Applications several times now, and we need to see all the evidence if we are to reach the right decision.”
The fact is that Bradford MDC has in its possession ample evidence of flood risk and actual flooding over several years, but they and Yorkshire Water are in denial about the culverted streams and the groundwater which cascades off the moorland, and the developers simply want to build houses and let the occupiers worry about flooding after it happens. Want any more evidence? See below!