5:34am Thursday 28th January 2016
By David Knights
A SILSDEN councillor has called for a major strategy to prevent new housing estates worsening already acute flood problems.
Adrian Naylor insisted “joined-up thinking” is needed for entire communities rather than just addressing localised flood dangers for each housing development.
He said an overarching strategy was needed due to the huge amount of housebuilding planned for villages in the Aire and Wharfe valleys.
Silsden alone is expected to cope with 1,200 new homes during the next 15 years, and several planning applications have already been received.
Cllr Naylor said the amount of housing expected on both sides of Silsden would inevitably force more water into Silsden Beck, which overflowed in the town centre during the Boxing Day floods.
Yet he claimed Bradford Council planning officers are only looking at potential issues affecting each planning application in Silsden, such as potential groundwater run-off in Sykes Lane or flood plain issues in Belton Road.
Cllr Naylor added: “By getting rid of the water from one site, we could end up moving more water into the system.
“The problem is that it doesn’t stop flooding, it just displaces the water further downstream and causes problems further down the village.”
During last week’s meeting of the full Bradford Council, Cllr Naylor said flooding was a district-wide issue that should be looked at strategically.
He later told the Keighley News: “We may find the solutions are radically different than they would be for just 50 or 100 houses.
“At a strategic level, it’s about not not putting as much water into the system at the same time – instead, you slow it down.”
Cllr Naylor suggested one long-term solution for some communities could be holding tanks and dams on the hillsides to stop rainwater reaching the village centre in one surge.
He said the council, Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency should also ensure all existing watercourses are in good repair so they could cope with existing levels of storm water, before new housebuilding went ahead.
Cllr Naylor said Silsden Beck suffered blockages, damaged banks and mature trees growing at the side because no maintenance has been carried out for many years.
He claims the council’s core strategy, which will govern future housing development in Bradford district, does not adequately address flooding.
He added: “It talks about significant parts of the district where there is a severe risk of flooding. It identifies strategic risks, but doesn’t look at strategic solutions.