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Tuesday, 28 July 2015

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Villagers fear flooding if homes built

CLEATOR residents fear a major risk of flooding if a new housing/office complex planned for the old Kangol site gets the go-ahead.

By Lucy Grosvenor

Almost 100 people attended a public consultation into plans for 92 homes, plus office space, to replace the mill building on the site. The potential flooding from the River Ehen attracted most of their concern.

Sylvia Clark, from Kiln Brow and a member of the local flood action group, said: “My house was badly flooded in 2009 and I am worried what will happen if so many new houses are built. Have the drainage and sewerage issues been fully considered?

“I don’t think the development of the mill is a bad thing – it does need a tidy-up – but I’m not happy with 92 homes. It’s just too many.”

Flood maps on the Environment Agency’s website put the new-build in “flood zone three”, where there is a one per cent chance of river flooding occurring annually.

The developers say that a “robust design” would be put in place to prevent flooding if the plans are given the go-ahead.

Another local resident, Bob Riley, from Howthorne Fields, Cleator, said: “This is a high-risk flooding area. This development shouldn’t even be considered. We struggle as it is, but with nearly 100 more houses there will be no proper drainage for surface water and sewage.”

Tony Gregg moved to Hilden Road, which neighbours the site, less than a year ago to start a family. He said: “It is a good idea but at what cost? People who were affected by the floods five years ago their premiums are ridiculously high even now, and in this current climate is building houses which could be at risk of flooding a good idea?”

Another resident Graham Robinson said: “I hope it does get the go-ahead, the whole site is an eyesore. I do worry about emergency access; fire engines struggle to get round the roads at the minute, and that’s without loads of new houses creating more traffic.”

The site has been derelict since the hat factory closed in 2009.

Mark Walker, from the developer North Associates, said: “We are working with the Environment Agency developing existing flood defences, some of which are over 30 years old. We have proposed a robust design to secure the area.

“Yes, we will be creating a new access road and currently the fire service holds a key to the gate which allows access. This isn’t going to change, all we are doing is moving the route.

“I feel positive about these plans, especially when we know we are meeting a pent-up frustration where there is clearly a demand for regeneration in this area.”

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