It's five years since the public consultation for the council’s Local Development Plan, when the outcome of the final part of the examination in public was the approval of the creation of North Heybridge Garden Suburb (NHGS).

Heybridge Residents’ Association made valid arguments for moving the large development to a more logical area with fewer infrastructure problems but to no avail.

We were naturally concerned but were told to fear not.

NHGS would come with a much needed flood alleviation scheme, about the only positive to existing residents.

After being promised “not a single brick will be laid until the flood alleviation scheme is in place,”

the scheme was abandoned in its entirety, and replace with the “sustainable urban drainage”


This ensures the flooding problems aren’t allowed to worsen, but it also means they aren’t solved.

Little comfort to those who already suffer flooding.

The reasoning behind this change is the Environment Agency wouldn’t adopt the reservoirs created by the flood alleviation scheme - we’re sure this issue could have been solved.

The reason that Maldon District Council pushed the idea of NHGS was to obtain a reliable flood alleviation Scheme.

With the flood alleviation scheme off the table, surely the fair way ahead is to re-think the development plan?

When we made our case at the examination in public we put forward the notion that if the existing surface water drainage system was upgraded it should be adequate, negating the need to build NHGS.

That seems prophetic although unless there’s a change at the council, NHGS will go ahead.

Note that sites being developed form part of NHGS and that their drainage will travel into the existing water systems.

On the Bellway site the effluent from houses will be collected in an underground tank and pumped into the sewer under Holloway Road at night when there is sufficient capacity.

This is fraught with potential problems, by which time Bellway will have long gone.

The pumped system will be maintained by the new residents at their expense; will potential buyers understand what they are letting themselves in for?

NHGS is turning out to be a disaster before it has started.

The promised flood alleviation scheme is becoming myth, and developers seem able to run rings around planning officers.

“Money talks” is as true today as it ever was.

By Don Benson, chairman HRA, and David Sargood, vice chairman HRA