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.

Our ref: NIRS/00380871/SID1/PMM
Date: 08 May 2006

Dear Mr Wozniak,


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 Agency’s 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 Agency’s 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 location.

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.

Yours sincerely,


Flood Defence Enforcement Officer

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