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Attleborough housing development could be investigated after flooding fury

Homeowners in one of Norfolk’s fastest-growing towns are calling for an investigation into a housing development built on a floodplain they claim caused the worst flooding in living memory.

Dozens of homes in Attleborough were swamped by flood water following Storm Babet’s torrential rain, forcing some families to flee their homes.

Locals say that the town does not normally suffer major flooding issues and fear that the Hill Group’s 350-house scheme being built on a floodplain is the cause.

The Gables development
The Gables development

Nick Harding, 77, said the floodwater that swept into his Norwich Road home was “like a tsunami”.

“We’ve lived here for 14 years and never had anything like this happen,” he said. “In the winter, it was a floodplain but now it is all concreted over and the water can’t go anywhere.”

An initial planning application for 350 homes submitted in 2015 was turned down by Breckland Council due to flooding fears.

The refusal stated: “The site is located in an area of poor drainage, within a flood zone and close to several watercourses.

“The proposal has failed to demonstrate the realignment of the flood zones – and would result in flooding to people, property or places, both on and off-site.”

But, following an appeal, the government’s Planning Inspectorate overturned the decision in 2016, provided conditions were met. These included creating flood drainage systems that would not increase the risk of flooding off-site.

Planning permission was granted in 2018 and the land was subsequently sold to the Hill Group, which began constructing the Gables scheme in the summer of 2022.

A company spokeswoman said the Gables benefits from a “new sustainable drainage system that mitigates the risk of any future flooding” which was approved by all relevant bodies.

Lizzy King, whose home in Ferguson Way was badly damaged during Storm Babet, said: “We only moved here three months ago. It came up knee-deep on the ground floor. Everything is ruined. Someone needs to take responsibility.”

The multi-agency Norfolk Strategic Flood Alliance is due to meet with members and the community this week to begin the first steps towards an investigation into the floods.

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