Residents’ flood risk concerns at site of planned Winckley Square flats

Garden Street apartment site
The plans will see 47 apartments built on the site of the disused sports hall. Pic. Google Streetview

Concerned residents say newly discovered information shines a light on the flood risk at the site of planned apartments near Winckley Square.





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Since Blog Preston told how a row had broken out between residents and developers about the planning process for the site of the former Cardinal Newman sports hall in Garden Street, a record of flooding in the 1970s has been unearthed.

Spokesperson for the residents, Steve Harrison said: “While the developer submitted a Flood Risk Assessment stating that the nearest watercourse to the site is the River Ribble, plans show Avenham Syke flowing directly beneath the gym.

“In addition many floods remain undocumented in the records of statutory bodies.

“So, despite residents providing images showing flooding at the site and the written evidence sent to the planners by the owners of the building next door to the gym – that both the gym and the adjoining building  were flooded – the official line is that this area is at low risk of flooding.

Floodwater on Mount Street, with the sports hall in the background
Floodwater in Mount Street in 2014, with the sports hall in the background

“Since the Blog Preston article, Ralph Cooper has provided extracts from the Preston Catholic College magazine in the 1970s. The sports hall was built for the College.

“Ralph’s extracts demonstrate that the recent floods are not the first on this site, which is directly above Avenham Syke.”

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According to the magazine, on 16 September 1975:

“Strange damp stains were noticed about the beginning of term on the floor of the Gym. It began to buckle, and within the week, before a proper investigation had been made; a large hump appeared in the middle, which, in two days, had extended the length of the building. Then it cracked open to reveal water everywhere. Major crisis for the P.E. Department. Architects and insurance men appeared, but we still await the new floor.”

A photo showing the construction of the sports hall was featured in the June 1970 edition of the Preston Catholic College magazine Pic: Ralph Cooper
A photo showing the construction of the sports hall was featured in the June 1970 edition of the Preston Catholic College magazine Pic: Ralph Cooper

Steve believes the information from the Preston Catholic College magazine and local residents should be considered.

“It’s understood planning approval is still subject to the developer submitting an acceptable method statement for the diversion of a subterranean water course, which is believed to carry spring water from Avenham as well as all the rainwater that falls on Winckley Square.

“I think the magazine extract highlights the risk of flooding, not just to the new building, but to those who live and work in the immediate area.

“It is imperative in my view that local knowledge and documentary evidence of flooding is part of the final discussion.”

Demolition signs have gone up at the site Pic: Stephen McKay
Demolition signs have gone up at the site Pic: Stephen McKay

In a previous statement on the topic Councillor Peter Moss, Deputy Leader of Preston City Council and Cabinet Member for Planning and Regulation, said: “The applicant submitted a Flood Risk Assessment which, following amendments, was accepted by Lancashire County Council in their role as the Lead Local Flood Authority.

“Members of the public were given two opportunities to share their views on this application. The initial application was put to the public for consultation where any concerned party could share their views.

“Following feedback from the first round of consultation the applicant amended their submission, after which we launched a second consultation where further opportunity was given so that views could be heard on the amended plans.”

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