Maghull – Development sites and flooding risks – Questions still being asked!

Dovers Brook, Maghull in full flood looking north from Sefton Lane on Boxing Day 2015.

A subject I have covered many times before but then in a low-lying coastal Borough like Sefton flooding is always going to be a threat. And that is of course why it needs to be closely managed with no building agreed to in areas where to do so would increase the risk of it.

And the reason I return to this subject now, when no serious flooding events have taken place recently in the Town? Well it’s to keep track of ongoing issues in Maghull where land development continues to cause real worries for residents.

Those from the Maghull area may recall the hugely controversial plan to build on land off Damfield Lane going back only a few years ago. It was and indeed still is controversial with locals because of worries about flood risks potentially being increased. In fact the care development on that site is being constructed right now. The major objection to the planning application was all about flood risk and hours upon hours were spent in investigations into what building on this site could/would lead to in terms of flood risk.

River Alt looking south towards Switch Island from Bridges Lane in Sefton Village – It takes virtually all the surface water for miles around out to sea at Hightown

In simple terms surface water drains away from Maghull in a westerly direction using Whinney Brook, Maghull Brook, Dovers Brook etc. with them all draining into the River Alt. In turn the Alt empties out into the Mersey estuary at Hightown. The issue is therefore the capacity of these brooks and the river to be able to take the consequences of heavy prolonged rainfall away. Clearly at times that capacity will not be sufficient and the more we concrete over farmland, where rainwater can presently soak away, the greater we make flood risks.

A flooded Bridges Lane between Dovers Brook and the River Alt – when it all got too much in December 2015

Since the Damfield Lane site was given the green light for building however a far, far bigger site on the east of Maghull has also been allocated for around 1,600 houses and an industrial park by Sefton Council. It will go a long way to making Maghull 25% bigger than it is now – truly a huge urban extension and from a flood risk perspective (never mind the fact that the land presently grows our food) surely a big additional worry.

I recently posted about the SUD (Sustainable Urban Drainage) pond that has been dug on the Ashworth South/Poppy Fields site off School Lane. I’m also told that the pipe presently being laid across the fields on the other side of School Lane is to take water from the Poppy Fields site over to Whinney Brook. Here’s a shot of that SUD:-

Looking over the recently created rainwater collection pond. School Lane is behind the fence in the background.

So what is being done to manage flood risk in the Maghull area? The Lunt Meadows water catchment area is the big solution when the River Alt gets beyond its capacity. Here’s a link about it:-

www.floodready.co.uk/pageinfo.asp?Sefton—Lunt-Meadows-Washland-c13.html

The big questions Maghullians have to face, in my view, are when will the next significant flood risk event take place (as surely it will do) and are the powers that be managing land development in a way that does not increase flood risk? On this latter question the answer must surely be that the jury is still out……

Flooding – Why do new houses keep getting built in flood risk areas

www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/25/mps-to-debate-planning-bill-to-protect-homes-from-surface-flooding

The Guardian has the story – see link above

This is a very important issue yet for reason that do not bear close examination more and more new homes seem to be getting built in flood risk areas.

The Maghull area flooding pressure points

The Maghull area flooding pressure points

Only yesterday in conversation I heard of a Maghull family refused flood risk insurance due to the location of their property. This particular property seems to be caught up in the concerns about the River Alt and Dovers Brook over-topping problems at times of very heavy rain.

With thanks to my research assistant Roy Connell

Flooding and its causes – Lessons for Maghull & Lydiate and Sefton Borough generally?

July 2010 Seaforth Floods

July 2010 Seaforth Floods

www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-35199963

The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above

The Maghull area flooding pressure points

The Maghull area flooding pressure points