The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that new houses should not be built:
- on flood plains
- on other high risk flood areas
- in areas where, if houses are built, it would increase the risk of flooding neighbouring property
Despite this requirement, many homes are being built (or we expect to be built) in such areas – for example:
- Crest Nicholson, betweenHorsham Road and the Downs Link
- Berkeley Homes, south of the High Street
- Little Meadow, east ofAlfold Road
- Thakeham Homes, next to Elmbridge Road – on land that was seriously flooded in January 2015including the pumping station!
- A2 Dominion, Knowle Park – new application expected soon for new houses on the lowest area in Cranleigh!
Cranleigh Society will continue to object to Waverley Borough Council to granting permission to build in these high risk flood areas, and to stop relying on so-called Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) as a guarantee against flooding, which are not always reliable!
FloodRe is a joint insurance industry and Government initiative to enable the owners of homes which have flooded to not only obtain flood insurance but at an affordable price. The problem is that FloodRe can only “come to the rescue” when a house was built before 1st January 2009! This is because, since that date, no houses should have been built in those three areas specified in the NPPF.
People who bought a house built after 1st January 2009 which has subsequently flooded are on their own when trying to renew their insurance. Their house could be uninsurable or, at best, they may have to pay a very expensive premium for cover with a high flood excess.
Until recently, the FloodRe literature did not directly mention that all important date of 1st January 2009 – it merely referred to “qualifying properties” with the reader having to visit their website to see if the house qualified! We found this to be simply unbelievable!
Cranleigh Society tackled FloodRe on this issue and, finally, they did agree to include the cut-off date in all new literature – with no explanation or apology for excluding it in the first place. There are thousands of these leaflets in circulation, and with no print date to help distinguish the correct and incorrect versions, this would of course be misleading for house buyers.
We fear that a lot of new Cranleigh residents are in for a rough time after their first experience of several days of incessant heavy rain.