The recent rains have brought with them the predictable localised flooding, and, at the same time, showed up the failings of the road drainage system.
And it also begs the question: why do the developers Scentarea want to build 168 new homes right by an official flood zone?
Water water everywhere
It’s hard to believe perhaps, but the Midlands has had nothing like the record-breaking rains in other counties. In fact the local weather station records tell us that summer 2007 was far far worse (!). Staffordshire has not had the terrible raininess of the north of the country – nevertheless, we have still been emailed by lots of people surprised by the extent of effects of our local rainfall.
There were reports of pooling water on the road at the Draycott Arms junction; on the Cresswell lay-by; and the farm lane behind Blythe Park base.
The River Blithe at Cresswell swelled almost to the top of its banks, and the low-lying fields were so water-logged that walkers sank in the sodden grass up to their mid-calves!
Fulford was cut off for a while because of the flooded road up toward it; and cars going to Hilderstone had to slow down, or find themselves hitting a pool that stretched across the road.
Some drains couldn’t cope with the sudden onrush, including the ones on Cresswell lay-by. The blocked water had to go somewhere though – and broke through a crack in the pavement, creating a small spring…
Of course, Cresswell in particular has been particularly prone to getting water-logged in its past. In fact its historic name means “a stream where watercress grew” – which means it must have been known for having lots of surface water (making it unsuitable for good grazing, but great for a water-loving plant like cress).
In our own times, the rains of 1987 saw water flooding into some homes on Sandon Road in Cresswell.
So, it’s not surprising that the centre of Cresswell, especially on the line of the river, is on the official Environment Agency maps as an area of flood risk. See Cresswell Flood Risk map
However, what is very surprising is that the planning application to build dozens more homes and industrial units borders this very flood-risk area…!
And yet… the councillors on the Staffordshire Moorlands Planning Committee – against the advice of all their experts, and in spite of the report commissioned by the residents of Cresswell – decided to approve this application. Strange, to say the least.
But one thing is for sure: the flooding is here to stay; and may be worse in future years. Weather experts are now predicting, because of climate change, that there will be more, and more intense, rainfall.
Those councillors may rue their decision to approve a new development by a flood zone.
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