How could flood risk affect development plans?

As the heavens opened again this week, it seemed only fitting that our first Insights article should reflect the soggy conditions and how these could affect development plans…

So, how do you know if your project is at risk of flooding?

It could be the perfect site in the right location, with no obvious flood risk issues, but the Council are not interested in whether you’ll get your feet wet if it rains tomorrow. When it comes to planning, they are looking at potential flood risk in 110 years’ time. Clearly, unless you have a crystal ball lying around, this is not something that most of us can determine, and we therefore need to take the time to do our due diligence.

The good news is that the Government provide a flood map from the Environment Agency, all you need is the postcode in order to check your current flood risk. Meanwhile, Borough Councils share the projections that they work with for future flood zones on their websites. We can see the projections for Poole for example here.

If the proposed site shows up on these projection maps as Zone 2 or Zone 3, then getting planning approval is a little more difficult. The Council will not approve development plans in these areas without a Sequential Test, proving that the site cannot go anywhere else, and that there are provisions in place to mitigate flood risk.

Whilst this amounts to extra work, time and negotiation, with the right planning advice and support, it can still prove to be successful. We recently worked with a Robotics company to help them gain approval for a new site in Poole which was located in a future flood risk zone. We proved that the site was unparalleled elsewhere because train access would be essential for incoming visiting surgeons. This resulted in Sequential Tests being required for numerous locations along the train line through Bournemouth and Poole, and finally, as a result, we obtained approval for the original proposed site.

If you have any questions about flood risk or any other potential planning approval obstacles, please do get in touch with us:

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