Doncaster man’s misery at flooding row

Chung Chan says his property, on Sheffield Road, Conisbrough, is constantly flooded and can not be used as a business premise.
Chung Chan says his property, on Sheffield Road, Conisbrough, is constantly flooded and can not be used as a business premise.
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An angry Doncaster man whose property is frequently flooded has accused the council of refusing to help him.

Conisbrough man Chung Chan claims heavy rain causes a culvert that channels rain water under Sheffield Road and into Kearsley Brook to overflow and flood his property on Sheffield Road, causing extensive damage.

As a result, Mr Chan has found it impossible to let the property commercially. He therefore wishes for his property to be exempt from business rates, but Doncaster Council have refused to remove the building from the list and told him that, as the land owner, it is his duty to prevent flooding.

Mr Chan said: “The entire situation is ridiculous. How can they charge business rates for a property that no one can use? I have asked countless times over the years for the council to sort the issue, but they deny it’s their responsibility.”

A report of an investigation carried out by the Environment Agency in 2011 highlights a number of issues with the culvert, including missing concrete sections, joints left unsealed and heavy corrosion. Doncaster Council said they do not set business rates and these are set independently by the Valuation Office Agency.

Assistant director of environment, Gill Gillies, said: “The cause of persistent flooding on Mr Chan’s land is being investigated by the Environment Agency and the council, and the findings will help us manage the issue.

“However, it is inaccurate to say that the flooding is caused by a poorly-maintained culvert on Sheffield Road, as the council maintains this culvert and it is inspected monthly.

“Mr Chan has regularly been advised to contact the Valuation Office Agency, which decides whether to remove a property from the rating list or reduce its rateable value.

“Legally we have to charge all properties as they appear on the rating list, so if the Valuation Office refuse to alter it we have no option but to charge business rates for it.”

However, a spokesman for the Valuation Office Agency insist that it is not their responsibility to set business rates.

He said: “Business rates are a matter for the local authority, VOA only determine the value of a business.

“The individual should contact us about his business if it can’t be used. Business rates could change if premises can’t be used because of flooding.”

Solicitor John Howe is now assisting Mr Chan in legal proceedings.