I went to the Prudhoe Civic and Community Forum meeting last night about the flooding. The most forceful presence came from a newly appointed West Area Highways manager Richard Hayes. It seems he is very ready to understand that Prudhoe has deep seated drainage problems that unless they are addressed will continue to cause a lot of distress to affected properties.
What I now say is a little bit of reading in: but I conclude his advice would likely to be no development planning permission until a wider study into Prudhoe's geology and drainage is concluded. And that one should not be surprised if the solution is an interceptor drain of some size running along the spring line. That is roughly from the west end of the bypass, along the back of Prudhoe Castle School, the bottom of the Kepwell, between Broomhouse Lane and the new development to the area of the Cockshaw Dene where it would discharge into natural drainage. This scheme would intercept surface and land water discharges.
Once it was in place, the capacity would be there to proceed with the town development.
The objectors were going on about granite! I had to interject. There is no granite anywhere near Prudhoe. I had the geology map with me to prove it. Apparently as one told me later, Fairhurst's had suggested this. If so this shows just how out of touch and hopeless the Fairhurst's input is. The geology of Prudhoe whilst complex is perfectly clear. The rocks are coal measures: coal, limestone, sandstones, shales, fireclays. Most are porous but the clays are not and will play a role in springlines. On top of the rocks there is boulder clay and sands and gravels. Plenty of the latter along the hillside clearly shown on the map. Where they meet clay, you get springs and where the underlying rock outcrops the same also happens.
It seems to me that previous developers have been allowed to get away with murder - especially as it now appears along Castle Road. It is very important that Northumberland Estates are not allowed to repeat this. They have had ample opportunity to do their work properly. They seem to have failed to do this. The objectors say that NE deny there are any springs on the development site. They have photographic evidence to prove otherwise.
To my mind the NE planning application should not be taken further until the drainage study is concluded and implemented. There is every reason a planning committee could want to say this to the applicant. There is no way that the applicant could object as they have manifestly failed to undertake the studies they should have done.
The event of 6th August was evidently very distressing and it has been followed up with smaller scale repeats since then including October 18th on Station Bank. However if these unfortunate events have injected some realism into the development plans in Prudhoe, something will have moved forward.