new build flood risk

Having read a report published in ‘Inside Housing Asset Management’ on the 26th February 2020, where it was debating the issue regarding developers building on land at risk of flooding and the environment agency stating that new homes should be built on flood plains only where there is no real alternative the NBRA team had a lively debate about the areas we are aware are presently being developed and without the knowledge base we have what we would do if we were a potential new build consumer.  

Putting ourselves in the shoes of a new build consumer, a variety of options were discussed along the lines of a) asking the sales team, b) talking to local people and c) research newspaper reports however it was thrashed out that the sales team may not be living in the area and unaware of the previous function or behaviour of the land, how kindly local people would react to a stranger knocking at their door given the fact they may oppose the development and the time around our busy lifestyles that would be consumed researching old newspapers on line.  We were also aware of how qualified the sales teams are as they sell properties based on the dreams of the new owners in creating ‘new memories’ and the property being a ‘house for life’. It is proven that purchasing decisions are one of the most emotionally charged choices that humans make be it a car, clothes or property.  

February 2020 was the wettest month on record for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the second wettest, behind February 1990, for Scotland, as reported by the Met Office. It has also been the fifth wettest of any calendar month in a series from 1862. When we listen to environmental reports, we are told that due to expect changes due to climate change and that weather patterns are changing and if we recall headlines from other severe weather patterns where the insurance industry have used terms such as ‘act of god’ or ‘100 year event’ to argue there liability under the insurance policy and to get out of a claim.  

According to the NFU the definition of surface water flooding is, and we quote, ‘is caused when the volume of rainwater falling does not drain away through the existing drainage systems or soak into the ground, but lies or flows over the ground instead. This type of flooding is usually short lived and associated with heavy downpours of rain, thunder storms etc. The team have visited Hampshire recently and assessed gardens as part of our services and have found a heavy concentration of clay which ultimately will not allow the water to drain away naturally as Clay can be used as a natural liner to retain water and other substances from contamination and used in waste fill site to line buried items and stop leakage into the water course. The only way to ensure drainage in a clay rich soil is to break it up with organic matter which will allow and encourage natural drainage when teamed with a good deep layer of sub soil and good quality top soil on which grass will grow.  

The team knew that there must be an easier way and after researching then we found the Gov.uk website held this information and mapping, (https://www.gov.uk/check-flood-risk).   This was a very interesting service as it allowed us to search on a postcode where we knew new build development was occurring and view a map which showed us visually using colours the extent of flooding from surface water.  This information would enable a new build owner to consider their future purchase and as we say, information is power, enabling you to understand all the facts before you sign on the dotted line. Should you find this article interesting or need to speak to us regarding any concerns you have please do so before you speak to the Customer Care team of the developer whom you have purchased from as the NBRA are keen to offer you transparent and honest advice enabling the best resolution to be reached and you to know what rights you have to move the issue forward in a positive and proactive manner.


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