The Chair agreed to hear item 6 before item 5.
Sarah Littlewood from AECOM provided a PowerPoint presentation to the Committee which can be found on the following link: -
Sarah Littlewood explained that the purpose of the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment is to pick up where issues are and give recommendations for the Council to take forward as they develop the local plan. It will identify areas which need to be safeguarded for flood risk management.
At 16.48 Councillor Collins joined the meeting.
Sarah Littlewood outlined that as part of the work they have analysed potential development sites and scored them on flood risk and provided a ranking so preferential sites can be seen. If coloured red that means it is not good in terms of flood risk management, if coloured green it is good.
The Assistant Director for Planning and Growth added that it doesn’t mean if scored as red that the site will be ruled out, it is only one layer of evidence and lots of other evidence is being gathered.
The Chair queried if Sarah had been to the sites and seen them properly.
Sarah Littlewood responded that she had visited the sites in the past as she worked on the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment for Thurrock previously. They have also received information from the local flood authority who are on the ground.
The Chair noted that in 1953 there was a flood before the wall was built in the 1980’s. The Chair expressed concern that there is a river in Chadwell St Mary that had been built over. The Chair commented that if you keep putting things in front of water, water will find a way out. The Chair highlighted that the ASDA roundabout has a big problem with flooding but the Council doesn’t own the road so they are unable to do anything.
The Assistant Director for Planning and Growth responded that slide 22 looks at the opportunities to reduce the causes and impact of flooding. When planning applications come through they can work with the water companies.
The Chair raised that there are a lot of areas in the borough vulnerable to flooding. She stressed that we need the water companies to be present at task force to ask them about this.
The Assistant Director for Planning and Growth responded that it highlights the importance of considered sites and points against green belt sites.
Councillor Collins highlighted that he was very concerned that whatever mitigation put in place will never be enough when the current sewers cannot cope and untreated sewage is being pumped into rivers. Councillor Collins stated that when they built South Woodham Ferrers they built the sewers first, too many developments are attaching to the current sewers which are already at capacity. HMO’s and flats are also an issue as too many people are using the facilities.
Councillor Worrall stated that Tilbury floods every year as it is on a flood plain and the drainage cannot cope, gardens are constantly waterlogged and the school has a continuous pump.
The Chair raised that she has requested a reservoir previously in this task force. She stressed that she understood we need housing but we need to look at the land and what is under the ground.
Councillor Watson stated that the local plan will set out for the developer the infrastructure required. She highlighted that currently the Council has nothing to battle developers with on this. Councillor Watson stated that she was happy that the strategic flood risk assessment was being completed to highlight how bad the problem is, she wanted to know how it can be rectified and what alternative methods there are to stop the flooding.
Sarah Littlewood responded that the SFLA does make recommendations on a number of those things. They will then need to be put these into the Council’s policies so that you have a hook to say we need to do this or that.
The Local Plans Manager confirmed that localised catchment studies are being completed and will consider what intervention can be done at the top of the flow to alleviate issues at the bottom.
Sean Nethercott stated that in the future we are going to have the evidence base to have more informed conversations with applicants about infrastructure and mitigation. Hopeful that when we get to the Regulation 19 stage with the local plan, we can ensure that Thurrock will not be in the position it has been over the last few years.