Owston FErry Architect’s anger over flood of red tape in Isle

Architect Steve Garner, is angry at the Environment Agency for putting unreasonable demands on his clients plans to build on a plot of land in Owston Ferry. Picture: Marie Caley E4071MC

Architect Steve Garner, is angry at the Environment Agency for putting unreasonable demands on his clients plans to build on a plot of land in Owston Ferry. Picture: Marie Caley E4071MC

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AN architect says ‘ridiculous red tape’ is making it impossible to get planning permission to build new properties in the Isle of Axholme.

Steve Garner, architect from SCG Design, claims new hard-line planning advice on flooding issued by the Environment Agency is being taken to extremes.

He says he has been turned down for 20 schemes, in the region, even though the plans are to build homes higher above ground level than existing properties to reduce the risk of flooding.

The Owston Ferry architect claims North Lincolnshire Council does not want to overrule the agency’s advice, even when it seems unreasonable.

Mr Garner, 70, said: “It is becoming impossible to build - it is getting ridiculous. I think they are putting red tape up to justify their jobs.

“I have a list of clients from West Butterwick, Althorpe, Belton and Owston Ferry and West Stockwith, where the EA are putting in ridiculous objections. Local builders are screaming out for work, but I’m still waiting for decisions having been knocked back because of a load of rubbish.”

The planner, whose business is based in Church Street, said he was exasperated over EA red tape which has prevented planning permission for one bungalow, on land off South Street, Owston Ferry.

Owston Ferry Parish Council, highways bosses and neighbours have not objected.

He says the only objection comes from the Environment Agency and claims he has been given contradictory advice over the last nine months from six different engineers at Lincoln and Nottingham.

“After numerous emails, letters and phone conversations, I am still no closer to knowing what else I can do to satisfy their requirements,” Mr Garner added.

He claims the flood risk policy statement he was informed to work to is now obsolete and described other rules as ‘pure guesswork’.

“There is a two metre flood wall all along South Street. It was built in 1969 and water has never come up to the wall, even a high spring tide.

“In the last week I have been asked to re-submit the Ordnance Survey maps with a red line around the proposed site - I’d done it in blue as asked in a previous document. Sounds like red tape not a red line they want.”

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said the body was a statutory consultee on planning applications and its role was to provide advice to planning authorities about potential flood risks.

She added: “Due to low lying land, a large proportion of the Isle of Axholme is at risk of flooding and we provide advice on a number of planning applications within this area. Our priority is to advise if new developments will be safe at all times, without increasing flood risk elsewhere.”

“Within the planning process our staff speak to the planning officers, applicants, and flood risk consultants in an aim to provide as much advice and support to an application as is possible.”

North Lincolnshire Council was unavailable for comment.