Barn conversion allowed despite flood risk

The residential conversion of a barn in Gloucestershire was allowed despite concerns about the susceptibility of the site to flooding.

The site was on an island created by a river and a mill stream. The mill stream had a regulated flow and therefore did not flood but the river was subject to flooding and there had been significant flooding events in 1965, 1968, 2007 and 2012. It was common ground, however, that neither the site nor a riverside bungalow had flooded during the latter two events.

The Environment Agency had commissioned a strategic flood risk mapping exercise of the river and determined that the site was at a high risk of flooding. A flood risk assessment prepared for the appellant, on the other hand, concluded that the site was at a low risk of flooding. The two studies adopted two different hydraulic modelling approaches, the inspector noted. Having considered all the evidence, he took the view that the predicted flood levels at the site would be closer to those of the EA than those indicated in the appellant’s flood risk assessment. He considered, however, that there were a number of other issues to be considered.

The council had not taken issue with the conversion in principle and the development would bring the building back into a purposeful use, the site was within easy walking distance of a train station, and the NPPF promoted sustainable development in rural areas. Furthermore, it was established at the site visit that a finished ground floor level of 22.95m AOD, the level indicated by the EA for a 1 in 100 year flood event, could be achieved with adequate headroom at both ground and upper storey levels. Accordingly, permission was granted subject to a condition requiring ground floor levels to be set at this level.

Inspector Alan Wood; Hearing

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