Place making and flood risk management

Throughout the Draft Placemaking Plan there appear to be contradictory statements and some wishful thinking where flood risk in Bath is concerned. For example in the Bath subsection of this Plan, paragraph 122 states that the Recreation Ground “Functions as an important storage area during flood events”. However, the flood risk maps for that area which can be viewed on the B&NES website and are contained in the Black and Veatch Technical Note for the Bath Quays project show the actual flooded areas for various Annual Probability return risk events.  The Rec does indeed flood at a low-risk event but as the water levels rise the line drawn on the B&NES map refuses to contain the water and the inundation spreads into the surrounding properties.

This means that, if the Placemaking Plan is adopted as currently drafted it will effectively be council policy to designate the basement flats of Great Pulteney Street, the houses in Pulteney Mews, those along Pulteney Road to the south of the railway bridge, Broadway and the Dolemeads and Widcombe School as “important flood storage”. We cannot believe that this is what councillors  intend.

In 2012, The Environment Agency produced the Bristol Avon Catchment Flood Management Plan which says “The current level of flood risk in Bath is considered unacceptable”,

The Placemaking Plan predicts that by 2020 “winter precipitation could increase by up 18% and be more intense”.

We are concerned that current plans for development are ignoring, or, at least, understating, the flood risk to existing residents of Bath.

Had storm Desmond tracked a few miles to the south, Bath would not have had a Christmas market, and too many of us would not have had a very happy Christmas.

Paragraph 21 of the Placemaking Plan states that the “Council will encourage and support residents throughout Bath”.

We would argue that a key element of that support has to be a more thorough understanding of the flooding risks posed by future developments and much more concrete and funded proposals for protecting the city.