Letter from the Environment Agency
dated 08 May 2006 - seeking to lay the blame elsewhere.
This letter is a classic of its type -
outlining in detail the various ineffective actions of various officers whilst failing to
address the central issues of why permission was granted at all, and to what extent the
works have increased the flood risk for domestic properties in Hamilton Close. This letter
is to be read in conjunction with the transcripts of telephone
conversations between the EDDC planning officer Rod Harrington and the SeeRed author,
and with Mrs Meadows - and in which she admits that Agency staff might well have been to
blame for allowing the works to 'slip through the net' of what should be an integrated
approach to planning approvals for developments in the flood plain of a main river.
Date: 08 May 2006
Dear Mr Wozniak,
HAMILTONS GARAGE, SIDFORD SOUTH WEST WATER AUTHORITY LAND
I have now investigated your complaint to us of 26 February 2006. This has
required me to consult with the Planning Department at East Devon District Council and my
colleagues in our Development Control Team. I also requested pre and post works levels
from Mr Woolner, who carried out the works on behalf of the owners of Hamilton Garage.
From the evidence gathered I cannot find any breach of the above Byelaws that would allow
me to take further action on this matter.
I began by asking the question of Mr Harrington, was the work to the car park area given
planning permission, as it appeared no mention was made of raised levels in the initial
planning application? His reply of 27 March 2006 confirmed that he had consulted with the
Agency on this matter and in his opinion the car park area was covered by the planning
permission dated 14 April 2005. The issue of planning permission to work on a site by a
watercourse does involve the planning authority consulting the Agency. Any permission then
granted does generally include the Agencys comments and therefore the planning
permission overrides the above legislation and need for Byelaws consent. Consultation was
made and the requirement for a buffer zone added to the granted permission.
Not withstanding the above, from the available level survey it has been calculated that
approximately 25 m3 of floodwater storage capacity has been
lost in times of severe flooding on the river. While any such loss is contrary to the
Agencys wishes, it is regarded as insignificant at this location where the
inadequacy of the Pack Horse Bridge is the principle (sic) reason for flooding at this
You also raised concerns about the raising of levels over a public sewer. This is a matter
that we are unable to get involved with and I suggest that you talk directly to South West
Water Ltd about this matter. May I suggest that you address your concerns over this matter
in the first instance to our contact Martin Dunn on main switchboard number 01392 446688.
You have also pointed out the matter of a drain in the corner of the new parking area. I
am still dealing with this matter and will let you know about this in the near future.
If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact me on 01392 316179.
PAMELA MEADOWS (MRS)
Flood Defence Enforcement Officer
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