East Leeds: ‘Stop build now or you will flood us out’ say residents

CONCERNS: From left, Hilary Buxton, Jacky Simpson (Garforth Flood Support Group), Majorie Middleton, Kathleen Higgins, Jack Higgins and Coun Mark Dobson.
CONCERNS: From left, Hilary Buxton, Jacky Simpson (Garforth Flood Support Group), Majorie Middleton, Kathleen Higgins, Jack Higgins and Coun Mark Dobson.
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Flooding victims are pleading with builders to stop development on grassland before their houses are damaged.

Several residents who live at the foot of the Harvest View development, on Garforth Cliff, have had their gardens engulfed with water after developers started work on land that naturally soaked up the rain.

Kathleen Higgins, a resident of the adjoining Cliff House Avenue, Garforth, has seen her garden flooded five times since builders started work around six months ago.

The 74-year-old was in tears at the site of her flooded garden on Thursday. She said: “I’m worried that it’s going to haunt us for the rest of our lives. We’re not happy at all, we want them closing down until the drainage system is in.”

Kathleen and husband Jack have lived in their home for 11 years and, along with four affected neighbours, have never experienced flooding problems until the site was stripped. A trench was dug on the other side of their garden fence by builders to halt streams of water flooding her home two weeks ago but it is now full.

Jacky Simpson, of Garforth Flooding Support Group, said: “It’s extremely urgent, I think building should be stopped until everyone is satisfied.”

A planning application for the 68 house development from Ben Bailey Homes was first refused after being submitted in 2008, but passed on appeal despite concerns over drainage.

Coun Mark Dobson (Lab, Garforth and Swillington) said: “This problem can’t be solved by the short-term measures that builders have implemented. I’m calling for a cessation of building activity on site until the drainage issue can be properly addressed.” He said the Higgins’ house was minutes from flooding.

A Ben Bailey Homes spokesman said: “Due to the volume and intensity of rain over the last few days, the cut off drain was unable to cope with the amount of rain water. We have since increased the size of the cut off drain and are continually monitoring it.”

He said building will continue and drainage tanks will be installed within two weeks.

A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the drainage issue and are in talks with the developers.”

STILL HOPEFUL: Campaigners from Kirkstall Valley Development Trust at Abbey Milsl in Kirkstall. From left: Fiona Butler, Chris Hill, Paul Holdsworth and Adele Rae.

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