By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter
A housebuilder has been urged to pay compensation to residents after rainwater collected on development land and flooded into nearby gardens on a street in Eastwood.
Block paving and concrete posts were ripped from the ground and cars were damaged when the collected water burst from the old Lynncroft Primary School site, on Walker Street, in the early hours of Monday (September 18).
People living on nearby Garden Road woke at about 4am to find flooding “gushing down the street” towards their homes.
Some homeowners were moved to tears when speaking of the damage, caused when defensive flood measures failed following heavy rainfall on land owned by a developer Avant Homes.
Avant says it is bringing in measures to prevent repeated floods.
The damage came just 12 days after its plans for 104 homes on the site were refused by borough council planners due to separate concerns about the impact on neighbouring roads.
Carol and Collin Rowland, both in their 70s, have lived on Garden Road for 43 years and raised their children and grandchildren on the street.
The flooding damaged their garden, driveway and kitchen. Collin was moved to tears as he recalled the moment the couple realised how badly their property had been affected.
“It’s done us, living here,” he said.
“We’ve been as happy as Larry and it’s upset us beyond belief.”
The couple had only just recovered from separate flood damage a few days earlier, again caused by the same site.
This had been cleared before further water affected their property on Monday.
“It was a cascade of water, it was so frightening,” Carol added.
Construction work on the former school site had not started, but groundwork had taken place after earlier, more basic plans were approved by the council.
This gave Avant Homes permission to clear the land but required it to submit further, more detailed proposals before full construction could start.
These detailed plans were thrown out by Broxtowe Borough Council on September 6 when councillors said the proposed homes would be “over-intensive” and could “destroy people’s lives”.
Build-up from recent rainfall led to water pouring through flood prevention measures installed by Avant on the cleared site, leaving families with costly damage.
Jade Lawson, another affected resident, said: “If the developer didn’t take up all the grass and put essentially a lake there, it wouldn’t have got to this stage with the rain.”
Councillors representing Eastwood have called for affected residents to receive compensation from Avant.
Cllr Kane Oliver (Ind), who sits on Nottinghamshire County Council, spoke about residents’ “personal tragedy” during the authority’s place select committee on Wednesday (September 20).
He said: “The reality is unless we get to grips with flooding issues linked to developments, we’ll keep seeing these [incidents] coming through.
“I hope Avant Homes fully compensates residents and now withdraws its plans to build 104 homes, though that’s another matter.
“What can we do, as a council, to support these residents in the fight against flooding?”
Sue Jaques, who leads the council’s floods team, said one of the authority’s main flooding responsibilities is to make recommendations on planning applications.
She said: “It’s a devastating set of circumstances in Eastwood.
“As a lead local flood authority, we have a number of statutory responsibilities. One of those is around planning.
“We comment on major developments to the [district and borough] authorities.
“Our comments are made in good faith, follow planning legislation and it’s a local planning authority’s decision on whether they follow that guidance.
“We can also work with developers to look at sustainable drainage measures and they quite often ask how they can work with us.”
Flooding was not a consideration when detailed ‘reserved matters’ plans for 104 homes were discussed at the September 6 Broxtowe Borough Council planning committee meeting.
It was instead part of the discussion when the plans were first granted ‘outline’ permission in 2020.
This 2020 decision had previously granted basic consent for up to 110 homes on the former school.
At the time, Nottinghamshire County Council raised no objections to the plans regarding flooding.
However, the developer was told through planning conditions to ensure existing water run-off on the cleared site did not flood towards homes on a lower ground level.
A flood risk assessment approved in 2020 led to the creation of surface water drainage plans which factored in measures to combat a “one-in-30-year” rainfall event.
Avant says these measures were subsequently breached following “unprecedented” rainfall over the weekend.
A spokesperson for the company said: “As a result of the recent unprecedented rainfall, the defensive flood measures at our site in Eastwood have unfortunately been breached.
“We are now implementing further preventative measures at the site, which will mitigate the prospect of any future flooding.”
The developer did not provide further comment regarding whether it would be compensating residents for the flood damage.
But Cllr Milan Radulovic (Lab), Broxtowe Borough Council’s leader and ward member for Eastwood Hill Top, said: “The devastation it’s caused and the impact it’s had on local people has been striking and alarming.
“We have a number of questions we will be putting to the developer and our [council’s] planners.
“We need to pursue the developer to ensure it accepts liability and ensure these people get a fair and just settlement.”
Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service also confirmed it attended the street on Monday after receiving calls about the flooding.
A spokesperson said: “The crew from Eastwood attended and found internal flooding caused by a flash flood.
“Firefighters isolated the electrics and located the drains to flush away the water.”