'Big Society' floods defence plan blocked

A LANDOWNER'S plans to spend £700,000 creating his own flood defence scheme to protect dozens of homes submerged during the 2007 disaster has been refused planning permission for a second time.

Steve Lunn, of Field House Farm, at Renishaw, proposed a system involving a pond and drainage ditches, using plans developed by retired engineer Frank Hardy, of Parson Cross.

Mr Hardy said current drainage, including a culvert under the A6135, is inadequate and often blocked.

The measures would have been funded by building 19 houses on green belt land, which Mr Lunn argued should be permitted as a "special case".

The defences would have protected homes on Emmett Carr Lane in the village.

The number of homes had been twice scaled down from the original 50 and Mr Lunn would make no money.

Planning officers had indicated the scheme could be approved if it included as few houses as possible.

But Bolsover Council's planning board has refused planning permission with members saying their role is to protect the Green Belt and not deal with flood issues.

It was the second time the scheme was refused.

Last year, the same committee said the number of houses - then 23 - was too large and was concerned about "who would look after the defences".

Residents and the Environment Agency supported the development.

Mr Hardy claimed: "The meeting was a farce. Bolsover Council doesn't care about the residents who were flooded in 2007 who would be at risk if the disaster is repeated."

Roland Bolton, director of Mr Lunn's agents DLP Planning Ltd, had asked the planning board to "embrace the Government's concept of the Big Society by granting permission". He has been instructed by Mr Lunn to appeal and said introduction of a new reason for refusal was "unreasonable".

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