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 david.simister@champnews.com
Friday, 25 March 2011 (3013427)
United Utilities should have objected to Banks application says councillor
by David Simister


THE north west's water provider should have objected in stronger terms about the flood risks of a controversial housing development in Banks, one of the village's councillors has said.

North Meols borough councillor David Vickers told The Champion that although United Utilities did highlight concerns about flooding at a proposals to build 31 affordable homes at a site on Chapel Lane, he felt that they should have openly objected to the application rather than simply commenting on it.

“The fact is that agencies’ recommendations are made by people who rarely go and look at a site. United Utilities have never objected to a planning application maybe because if they did they may be admitting that the sewage system is not up to scratch and they are liable for it. How can these people have a greater ‘local knowledge’ than people who live in the locality?,” he said.

“We are no longer a democracy, but a bureaucracy, in this country in that the only people listened to by our ‘professional officers’ are other ‘professional officers’.”

Cllr Vickers pointed out that although United Utilities had written to stipulate that measures should be taken to ensure that surface water at the site will not be allowed to be discharged to the public sewer system, he felt that the water provider should have objected in stronger terms, and told The Champion that flash flooding due to drains overflowing had been a problem in parts of the village in the past.

United Utilities responded by saying:

“As a responsible sewerage company we appreciate people’s concern about flood risk and we also understand the need for housing and particularly affordable homes. After looking closely at our sewer network we felt this development would not significantly increase the risk of flooding as long the rain water from the site drains to a local stream or soak-away instead of into our sewers.

”That’s why we have asked planners to impose a condition that the site's rain water must be drained on a separate system, with only foul water pipes connected into the sewer.“

The application was given the approval of members of West Lancashire Borough Council's planning committee at a meeting on March 10, despite more than 300 people writing in to voice their objections to the plans.










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