Flood risk fears justifies prior approval dismissal

In rejecting an appeal related to an office building on the Essex coast involving prior approval under Class J of Schedule 2 of the GPDO 2013, an inspector has decided that the proposed occupiers would be subject to unacceptable flood risks.

The environment agency (EA) stated that the site lay within flood zone 3 and in a 1 in 200 flood event the water levels would be between one metre and two metres in depth. In a 1 in 1000 flood event the water levels would be up to four metres in depth, the EA claimed. The appellant relied on a flood risk assessment which suggested that occupiers would have to travel a short evacuation route to reach land within flood zone 1.

In refusing to grant prior approval the inspector recognised that the area was subject to flood evacuation warnings which would enable occupiers to be notified of an impending flood event. However, the EA had objected to the development because of the potential risks and it had not been demonstrated that the access to higher land could be negotiated safely during a major flood event. Refuge within the building during a severe flood would also be questionable, the inspector held, and dismissed the appeal.

Inspector: Simon Warder; Written representations

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