Warning to councils on homes plan

SCENE: Flooding hit the Leeds district badly over Christmas.
SCENE: Flooding hit the Leeds district badly over Christmas.
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DEVELOPERS and local councils need to prove they have tried to solve flooding problems on land earmarked for new homes or they will struggle to sell properties, the Housing Minister has warned.

Neighbours will soon let people know if they are buying a property on previously water-logged land, Brandon Lewis admitted, and he claimed developers now need to work extra hard to win over customers.

Flooding in Yorkshire over the winter period saw some plots of development land in Pudsey and Shipley with planning permission for homes sitting under more than half-a-metre of water.

However, the sight of devastated brownfield and greenfield sites will stick in people’s minds and developers may find themselves facing tougher advice from the Environment Agency if they try to renew their permission to build in the future, according to Mr Lewis.

The Minister, who was the Government’s envoy during the Somerset Levels flooding in 2013, said: “I would expect the developer and the local authority to be very active if land has been in that situation, to make sure

that if they are going to move forward and do anything, they do so with full account of the flooding. Not least because you’re in a commercial market.

“If you are building property on land that’s had that kind of level of flooding - everybody knows - and your customer is going to be saying ‘what have you done about this’? You’re not going to be able to build a house and nobody realise, and even if you did, you’re not going to be able to find any customers because you wouldn’t get your building regulations signed off, so there’s a lot of protections out there.”

He said people should have confidence councils take advice of the Environment Agency.