Flooding woes over £5m Magherafelt housing plan

Picture of flooded street in the Sandy Braes area of Magherafelt, taken from Patsy McGlone MLA's Twitter account with permission. Pic taken night of 05-08-14, added by AK the following day
Picture of flooded street in the Sandy Braes area of Magherafelt, taken from Patsy McGlone MLA's Twitter account with permission. Pic taken night of 05-08-14, added by AK the following day
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Householders flooded in the Sandy Braes area of Magherafelt have lodged an objection to plans for alterations to an adjacent housing development.

Mid Ulster Council’s planning committee were told residents on the estate, which was flooded back in August 2014, are concerned that the development could lead to a recurrence of the problem.

However, committee members decided to approve the planning application for alterations to layout and private streets determination; change of house types and reduction in the number of units from 99 to 75 at Salters Bridge, Magherafelt, for Salters Bridge Ltd.

It is estimated the development will cost £5m and create 50 jobs.

A planning officer told the meeting that five objections were received to the proposal.

Referring to the flooding concern, he said the proposed dwellings are all set back and outside the ‘0100 flood levels’.

“Rivers Agency have advised that the latest flood in 2014 resulted in flood wrack levels recorded at the up and downstream limits of the site in excess of the 0100 flood level,” he said.

“A flood risk assessment was requested and Rivers Agency subsequently advised that they accepted its conclusions as they could not sustain a reason to object.”

SDLP Councillor Christine McFlynn said residents had contacted her with their concerns.

She stressed that she was not personally against the development as there was a need for property for first time buyers.

Councillor McFlynn said they were concerned that a rise in the level of ground at the development and other nearby developments could contribute to future flooding.

She said residents wanted the application deferred to allow them to meet with the developer and agencies.

A representative from the developer said the flood in 2014 had been due to a blocked culvert and that they had worked with Rivers Agency to ensure all concerns had been addressed.

Proposing the application is adopted, Councillor Derek McKinney said he appreciated the concerns of residents given that we’ve had the highest rainfall in 16 years. However, a block culvert had been the cause and there had been no flooding in recent years.