Fields put forward under controversial spatial framework plans “not identified as flood risk” - despite flooding just days before consultation closes

Date published: 22 March 2019

Campaigners say it is concerning that an area earmarked for new houses under the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework has not been identified as an area at risk of flooding – despite the area flooding on Saturday (16 March), just two days before the latest consultation on the plans closed.

The River Roch burst its banks when nearly a month’s worth of rain fell on the region, leaving fields off Smithy Bridge Road underwater.

The Greater Manchester Spatial Framework proposes some 210 homes for the 69-hectare site, the biggest of all the greenbelt sites included in the latest draft.

As a result of the weekend’s flooding, the Save Littleborough and Smithybridge Green Belt group is asking the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to recognise the important role that the greenfields and spaces in Smithybridge play in soaking up water and alleviating flooding, and to fully consider the impact building on these areas will have.

Co-founder of the Save Littleborough and Smithybridge Green Belt group, Kate Clegg said: “It is concerning that the area of GMA28 is not identified as a flood risk on the Rochdale flood map, despite having a flood alert in place for the majority of the day on Saturday and the river flooding.

“The land in GMA28 is in the Roch Valley to the north of the river. The farmland on the other side of the river is privately owned and used for cattle grazing. The land contour is such that all sub-surface water from the development will enter the river and in times of heavy downpour, will lead to the water encroaching onto the privately-owned land.

“The landowner and local residents living adjacent to the development site have told us of their concerns that additional development will lead to run-off water and drainage from the proposed developments running into the river, which will in turn will cause further flooding of their land during times of heavy rain.”


GMA28 site (bordered in red) off Smithy Bridge Road
GMA28 site (bordered in red) off Smithy Bridge Road


Wardle and West Littleborough ward councillor Ashley Dearnley said: “I am totally opposed to any development on this site. I have made my views clear; this area cannot be developed, not only on flooding grounds but also with no infrastructure and congestion on the roads.”

Littleborough Lakeside ward councillor Ann Stott said: “The proposed construction on this site causes me great concern, not just for proposals without any pre-thought infrastructure, but also the pressure which it will have on current drainage systems.

“This site has been highlighted with no consideration given to flood risk – floods which again occurred when the river burst its banks into the surrounding areas plus Smithy Bridge Road at the weekend.

“Such proposed development must surely have a further grave effect on residents and landowners who already suffer in this locality. Further careful consideration must be given to this area and situation before any action is undertaken.”

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority has been contacted for comment.

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