'Flabbergasted' neighbours demand better flood water drainage

Andy and Ches Broom, residents of Spinks Lane in Wymondham, who are worried the drainage plan for a

Andy and Ches Broom, residents of Spinks Lane in Wymondham, who are worried the drainage plan for a nearby housing development won't stop flooding. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Families whose homes suffered from flash flooding have criticised plans to improve drainage in the area, saying they do not go far enough.

Properties on Spinks Lane, Wymondham were among those to be inundated during the torrential rainfall that struck the region on Christmas Eve 2020.

The residents say the flooding could have been avoided if developers who are building new homes on the lane had put better measures in place to allow rainwater to drain away.

The new housing development on Spinks Lane in Wymondham. Picture: Danielle Booden

The new housing development on Spinks Lane in Wymondham. - Credit: Danielle Booden

The developers have now put in a retrospective planning application for moving drainage ditches, a lagoon to store water on one property and water butts to reduce water entering the ground.

Francesca and Andy Broom, who live near the development, told a South Norfolk Development committee that drainage measures were included in plans for the first home in 2015 but they were never put in place.

Ms Broom told the committee when SNC approved the sixth house in 2019, the drainage plan was still not in place, despite measures being mandated in earlier plans.

Mal and Angie Garwood and Ches and Andy Broom, residents of Spinks Lane in Wymondham, who are worrie

Mal and Angie Garwood and Ches and Andy Broom, residents of Spinks Lane in Wymondham, who are worried the drainage plan for a nearby housing development won't stop flooding. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Then in December 2020, the couple's home became overwhelmed by the rain. Mrs Broom said the development land had previously acted as a "sponge". Despite this, SNC refused to enforce drainage conditions in the 2015 plan.

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"We were flabbergasted that the developers then applied for a retrospective land drainage - this is five years after they were first asked."

The couple called for the application to be deferred.

They asked the council to investigate if the measures proposed by the developer would go far enough and if bigger pipes to carry water around the site was needed.

Christmas flooding at Ches and Andrew Broom's property

Christmas flooding at Ches and Andrew Broom's property - Credit: Supplied

Tony Holden, the ward member for Wymondham Town, echoed their concerns, saying the developer has "recklessly disregarded conditions" which cannot be allowed to carry on.

George Laws, the developer, said the plans would be better than what was there previously, with more water storage and the local food authority does not have any concerns about the plans 

The committee was split on the issue, with Liberal Democrat Terry Laidlaw making the case for deferring the application so councillors could get more information on if the plan was appropriate.

The ditch at the back of Mal and Angie Garwood's garden where the flood water should have flowed dow

The ditch at the back of Mal and Angie Garwood's garden where the flood water should have flowed down but didn't due to being blocked by the new housing development. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Conservative Lisa Neal disagreed, saying measures were needed as soon as possible.

Councillors voted to defer the plans - four votes to defer against three to approve.

Angie and Mal Garwood, Mr and Mrs Broom's neighbours, were relieved at the delay.

They said: "The decision today has gone some way to restore our faith in the system.

Mal and Angie Garwood, residents of Spinks Lane in Wymondham, who are worried the drainage plan for

Mal and Angie Garwood, residents of Spinks Lane in Wymondham, who are worried the drainage plan for a nearby housing development won't stop flooding. - Credit: Danielle Booden

"They have listened to us and shown a sensible approach to try and bring about a solution which is acceptable to all parties, not just try and push something through at the detriment of the existing property owners in the area."