Strategic Flood Risk Assessment and Sequential Test (Adjourned item Agenda item 11)
Sarah Robertson, the Senior Planning Policy Officer presented the report.
The Council had commissioned consultants AECOM to prepare a Water Cycle Study and Strategic Flood Risk Assessment to support the Local Plan. Both these studies had been prepared with a stakeholder working group which incorporated the Environment Agency, Anglian Water and Norfolk County Council as the lead local flood authority. The Water Cycle Study was still being finalised and was expected to be reported at a subsequent Local Plan Working Group.
The Strategic Flood Risk Assessment looks at flood risk from all sources of flooding including rivers, surface water, groundwater, sewers and artificial water courses. This assessment had provided a new set of maps for each of the growth locations and also a more detailed settlement appraisal which had both been used for the sequential test.
The aim of the sequential test was to steer new development to areas with the lowest probability of flooding and had assessed all the sites within the Local Plan currently identified as preferred sites or reasonable alternative sites.
The Chairman asked if every planning application would have to have its own Flood Risk Assessment. Members were informed that it would depend on the size of the application; the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) identified this threshold.
Following the assessment, a number of preferred and alternative sites at risk of flooding had been identified. It was proposed that preferred sites for Banham LP(003)003 and Necton LP(067)007 not be allocated for development in the Local Plan. Additionally, it was proposed that the status of the alternative sites identified (see report) would be reviewed and considered as unreasonable options.
The report then assessed the need for an exception test and found that subject to the removal of sites following the sequential test, an exception test would not be required. However, if the sites were not removed from the Local Plan then an exception test would be needed.
Referring to the data gathering exercise that the consultants had undertaken with various organisations, the Chairman stated that the Norfolk Rivers Internal Drainage Boards should not be discounted and should be asked for their help and assistance.
Referring to section 3.4.2 of Appendix A, the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment document, in relation to the historic records of river flooding, the Chairman advised that the most significant risk of flooding in Norfolk was from the River Wensum and he had been surprised that this had not been mentioned in the report.
The Chairman had also noticed the flood warning areas highlighted at section 3.4.5 of the document particularly in relation to the River Wensum where it made no mention of the parishes of Elsing or Lyng both of which were subject to flooding. The Chairman did believe however, that this could be mainly caused by the filling in of ditches.
In response to a request, the Strategic Planning Manager explained the sequential test exemptions.
Referring to all the extra information being required, Councillor Borrett asked if this would be managed by Breckland Council. Members were informed such information would normally be submitted with the applications, inspected by Breckland Council and/or Norfolk County Council as the Lead Local Flood Authority.
RESOLVED that the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment and Sequential Test be endorsed as evidence base to support the Local Plan and published on the Council’s website as part of the Local Plan documents library.