Community Flood Group – September 2019

George Clarke’s recent Channel 4 documentary “Council House Scandal” celebrated 100 years since the Addison Act of 1919 kick started Council Estate building. Sadly since the Right to Buy was introduced properties have not been replaced, hence the current shortage of Council properties for rent. GC has launched a National campaign to encourage Government to build more Council homes and has secured land in Manchester to demonstrate how to build good standard homes at reasonable cost. The programme highlighted a problem with commercial properties being converted to rentable homes under “permitted development” which fail to meet minimum acceptable standards for room sizes. Unfortunately this type of development introduced by Government reduced the power of local Planning Offices to enforce standards and bypass the formal planning processes.

The growth in permitted development could potentially lead to problems during conveyancing on house sale/purchase when the status of each building on site is investigated whether these are new build or change of use. Ideally a Lawful Development Certificate should be produced. To avoid risk to the seller/purchaser the seller can purchase an Indemnity Policy in the name of the purchaser. Not until permitted development is scrapped and the planning process returned to conventional planning application/building control will standards return to normal.

June/July/ August weather has continued to be untypical for this time of the year with short periods of high temperature near 37 centigrade and prolonged periods of heavy rainfall. Surprisingly total annual rainfall to the end of August is only 82% of average resulting from the extremely low rainfall earlier in the year.

Anyone interested in participating in discussions with the E/A over future flood defence requirements and contributing with their own local knowledge of flooding are again invited to contact me directly.


Community Flood Group – July 2019

Flooding issues have hit the headlines with major incidents in Lincolnshire and Tewksbury in a year when climate change has surfaced as a major issue. The E/A’s Emma Howard Boyd and Sir James Bevan have initiated the launch of a review of Flood and Coastal Management Strategy in May 2019 which will form the basis of the Government Statement in October 2019 setting out their long term goals. They claim over 500,000 homes are at risk of regular flooding requiring families to relocate their homes.

Locally 2019 started the year up to the end of May with only 52% of the average rainfall which compares with 106% for 2018. However June has seen almost continuous rainfall currently at 64% above the June average at 88mm compared with 1mm for 2018. The River has coped well rising only 1.1m at its peak on 12/13th May largely as a result of limited run off due to excessively dry land in the catchment area and the effect of the E/A work on the River and Horestone Brook.

In May the Government extended “permitted development” to allow further increase in the size of extensions to properties as part of their policy to improve /increase housing. Many Councils have expressed concerns describing the PD Policy as a planning disaster often causing conflict between neighbours resulting in unsuitable developments over which the Councils have little control. Even more concerning is the lack of protection for the individual through any suitable complaints procedure. Recent experience shows that any so called “Complaints Processes” are ineffective and biased and can only assess following of procedures not change of decisions.

I have recently held several meetings with the E/A to discuss implementation of refusal for permitted development rights under Article 4 to ensure compliance with the legal responsibility of landowners not to impede the flow of flood water as this is a criminal offence under Common Law. Unless this is implemented then building on the floodplain will continue unabated.

As a result of conflict of interest I proposed to close down CFG. However the E/A wished to continue working together especially as a new submission for flood defence funding for the Village is proposed for August/September 2019. Having spent 21 years campaigning for improvements in Nether Heyford I feel its time to step back and invite anyone interested in flooding issues to contact me so that the future of the Village can be secured.


Community Flood Group – March 2019

The middle of February witnessed a UK wide demo by the younger generation taking a day off school to raise the issue of Climate Change which threatens their futures and the well-being of the planet. Although directed at the Government, the UK has lead the World by reducing emissions by over 40% since 1990 whilst the USA, China and South America continue to be the major polluters burning fossil fuels.

In the UK the Met-Office Climate Prediction of 2018 predicted hotter,drier summers (rainfall down 47%) with temperatures up by 5.4 centigrade by 2070 and warmer, wetter winters(rainfall up 35%).

The forecast for 2019 expects it to emerge as the hottest in the last 5 years. Locally 2019 has already been exceptionally dry with January recording only 16.7mm (30% of average) and February 19.7mm (47% of average) rainfall respectively. As I write the weeks temperatures are expected to rise towards the 1998 record of 19.7 centigrade.


Community Flood Group – February 2019

What’s in a name? Last October I introduced the Midway Development at J16 which has subsequently been named Panattoni Park. An unusual name for
Northamptonshire and clearly of Italian origin. The Company was formed in 1986 by the Panattoni Family in Newport Beach, California and is now the largest international real estate developer specialising in industrial estates and warehouses. Panattoni is a part of Panattoni Europe where they have developed over 30M sq. ft. of new build industrial estates. Recently in a merger with First Industrial to form First Panattoni they have expanded into the area of logistics with development for Stanley (Black and Decker) on the Brackmill Estate. Clearly they see the continued expansion of the so-called Golden Triangle of Logistics, an area from the East Midlands up to Nottingham and extending west to Northampton. The claim of Companies within this area is to deliver anywhere in the UK within 4 hours with a 90% success rate. Whilst the Northampton site ground preparation is ongoing, planning has been submitted to SNC for installation of lighting and security cameras. The whole site which includes provision for parking space for 140 lorries at the Red Lion is due for completion at the end of 2019.


At the recent Climate Change Conference concerns were expressed on the 2
degree centigrade cap set as a target for controlling Worldwide Environmental pollution and a new limit of 1.5 was agreed. Nobody can be in any doubt that global changes are increasing with 2018 seeing a succession of catastrophes from earthquakes, landslides, flooding, hurricanes and storms and volcanic activity as well as our general climate. The latest record hurricane, Michael to hit Florida and the new storm, Leslie to hit Portugal and Spain with flash floods and landslides in Majorca and the devastation in the west of the UK by storm Callum are testament to the effect of changes. Locally Northamptonshire has fared significantly better with the River Nene at record low for most of the year. The only flooding event of the year occurred at the end of March when the monthly rainfall was nearly double that of an average March. For the year, the rainfall totalled 70% of average with March, April and December being the only months to exceed average levels. From June through to November rainfall totalled 44% of average for that period.