Plans for homes at former Eastwood school site thrown out following flooding

The Avant Homes site overlooks the properties on Garden Road, Eastwood
By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter

Plans for 29 new homes in Eastwood have been thrown out after flash flooding from the development site hit neighbouring properties last year.

Broxtowe Borough Council’s planning committee also slammed developer Avant Homes as they unanimously refused permission for phase one of the development.

Avant, which owns the old Lynncroft Primary School playing field site where the rainwater escaped from, said at the time flood defences had failed.

The school buildings had been demolished after the site closed in 2017.

The site already has outline planning permission for up to 200 homes.

The committee heard the developer had built a dam, which had then collapsed in September last year, sending water cascading into neighbouring homes.

One of those homes belongs to Carol and Colin Rowland, who said the flooding caused £16,000 worth of damage. The couple said they had not yet received any compensation.

Chair Cllr Greg Marshall (Lab) said there was a “significant concern” about engagement between the developer and neighbours.

The site is allocated for housing in the authority’s local plan.

But multiple councillors said they did not trust the developer to carry out the plans. They added that three affordable homes were not enough.

Ryan Dawson, planning officer, said: “This will frustrate a lot of you and I’m sorry, but issues of developer conduct are not a planning matter.”

He added that the recent flooding was the “elephant in the room”.

He said: “Whilst I’m aware of the unfortunate events on the site before Christmas, that was following very heavy rainfall shortly after the site was cleared and compacted.

“Actually, developing this site would improve the situation because you put drainage in.

“The local flood authority has been consulted and raised no objections.”

Cllr Bob Bullock (Lab) ward member for the area, objected to the plans.

He said: “Following recent flooding to many local properties, I would submit that the developers are not a fit and proper organisation and residents have no confidence in their ability to manage the development of this site.

“Ten per cent affordable housing is of little use for the long-term needs.

“Since its allocation, the site has fundamentally changed and has caused massive upset and disruption to local people.

“This is a site that should’ve never been granted permission.

“On the day of the flooding, I was there with residents when the representative from Avant Homes arrived. He said don’t worry, we will put things right.

“It is five months later and Avant is still denying liability.”

Separate, previous plans for 104 homes were refused on the grounds of the
proposal being overbearing and overshadowing and overlooking problems upon the immediate neighbouring properties last year.

That application is currently subject to an appeal awaiting a start date.

Resident Bob Charlesworth said: “Before full planning permission had been received, the developer got a contractor to clear the site, removed top soil, bulldozed and rolled the clay into a flat area.

“The drainage system was removed and the contractor was poorly supervised.

“In September there was a thunderstorm and heavy rainfall. It was not excessive.”

He suggested a number of conditions for the developer if the plans were to be approved.

Cllr Steve Carr (Ind) added: “The developer has not exhibited any duty of care for the existing residents in this area up until now. I have no confidence that they will do this in the future.

“To build a dam above existing properties without any way of draining was a recipe for disaster and a disaster happened.

“The pictures that I’ve seen of elderly residents being carried out of their houses should never be repeated again.”

Cllr David Watts (Lib Dem) said: “Avant Homes has demonstrated time and time again that they do no more than pay lip service to conditions and climate change.

“We can’t assume this company will do the right thing.

“Avant needs to be held to account to put things right. The last flooding was caused by them.”

Cllr Peter Bales (Lab) added: “Since I was elected the recurring theme is issues with this developer.

“This can’t be allowed to continue. Houses are needed but the cost to the residents can’t be overlooked.”

A statement from Avant Homes was read out during the meeting, it said: “The proposed development will created an interesting and pleasant environment to live.

“In light of the ongoing national housing crisis, the scheme boosts the provision of one, two, three and four-bedroom market homes.

“In 2022 over 2,700 households in Broxtowe were on the local authority housing waiting list. The three affordable homes proposed would assist in offering some of those households a place they can call home.

“There will be no detrimental impact on immediate neighbours in respect of overlooking, overbearing or noise.”

They added there is a drainage strategy to address flooding concerns.

An Avant Homes spokesperson said: “We are disappointed with the committee’s decision, particularly as our application had been recommended for approval by the council’s planning officers. 

“We will review our position and consider all the options available to us.”

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