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Flash flooding prompts concerns over Bellway housing site at Church Road, Otham


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Renewed concerns have been expressed over whether the drainage on a 421-home housing site under construction will be adequate.

Thunderstorms and heavy rain struck Maidstone early on Tuesday evening and as a result a torrent of water poured off the Bellway Homes site in Church Road, Otham, near Maidstone, flooding the garden of a property in The Beams below.

Flood water pours into The Beams

David Hatcher, chairman of the Chapman Avenue Residents Association, said: "This problem was forecast by us at the appeal hearing that granted permission for the development, where Bellway's barrister denied the likelihood of it ever occurring.

"With Bellway tampering with the natural drainage of the plot, residents are concerned at what other unseen problems are now occurring along the scarp of the site that drains directly into the back gardens of Chapman Avenue and The Beams."

Bellway won permission for the construction of 421 homes on the controversial site only at appeal, after the company's planning application had twice been rejected by Maidstone councillors.

At the appeal, Maidstone council was ordered to pay Bellway £120,000 in costs.

The housing company further angered residents recently by going back on a pledge made at the appeal hearing to put in signals at the junction of Deringwood Drive and Willington Street before starting construction.

Floodwater on the Bellway development site off Church Road, Otham
Floodwater on the Bellway development site off Church Road, Otham
A torrent of water poured down the steps leading into The Beams
A torrent of water poured down the steps leading into The Beams
The garden at No 6 The Beams was flooded
The garden at No 6 The Beams was flooded

The company was able to successfully persuade Maidstone council - after launching yet another appeal and the threat of a further costs award - to alter a planning condition so that the signals did not have to be installed until after the first 100 homes had already been built and occupied.

A Bellway spokesman said: "Bellway is aware of the flash flooding occurring adjacent to the development, which was caused by heavy rainfall. Our engineers are looking into the matter."

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