THE construction of swales at a proposed housing development in Wem has been branded as a “serious breach of planning law” by one town councillor.

Roden Grove is a proposed development of 25 houses on what is currently open space, but according to Dr George Nash, councillor for Wem West, the swales have been constructed before planning permission has been obtained.

It is also alleged that the groundworks are not going to be used as a beauty feature for the housing development, but rather as a way of holding excess water to alleviate flooding.

The planning report to Shropshire Council says ground conditions lead to standing water in the absence of proper drainage, however the majority of the application site is not affected by flood risk from either fluvial (rivers) or surface water flooding.

A detailed flood risk assessment was considered at the outline application stage and the council concluded that the development was acceptable and that a suitable drainage strategy could be designed to ensure that the development does not increase flood risk for any surrounding properties.

Surface water from the development will be directed to the attenuation pond located to the west of the development site, close to the River Roden.

On the outline application an indicative pond layout was shown, which was generically designed without the benefit of calculating the hardstanding areas to be drained, which can only be confirmed as part of this detailed planning application.

The planning statement says the pond has been designed to take into account the amount of hard surfaces formed by roads, roofs, driveways and patios and surface water drainage from these areas is directed to the attenuation pond.

But Dr Nash says the swale has been constructed before the public consultation

“I am disgusted that planning officers have allowed this to go ahead,” said Dr Nash

“The public consultation gave 21 days to object to the material matters of these swales, but lo and behold, they’ve already been built.

“This is a serious breach of planning law. The deadline for the consultation is for November 7, but these swales were dug before the letters were even sent out.

“What are Fletcher Homes and Shropshire Council going to do about this. If you or I built a house without planning permission, it would be knocked down.”

Before building works can be undertaken, Shropshire Council planning conditions state that no development approved by planning permission shall commence until the applicant has secured a programme of archaeological work and no development shall take place until a Construction Environmental Management Plan has been submitted.

But in a planning document from 2018, planning officer Jane Preece discharged both of these conditions.

In the report, Ms Preece said: “The submitted Archaeological Written Scheme of Investigation and Construction Environmental Management Plan have been subjected to consultation with the council’s Historic and Natural Environment Teams.

“And further to that, the submitted details have been confirmed to be acceptable for the purposes of discharging the pre-commencement requirements of the conditions.”