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Council facing £500k legal battle over drainage works

The land (screened) at St Mary Street, Bedwas, in May 2023 (Pic: Google)

CAERPHILLY Council is facing a £500,000 legal battle over claims it built drainage works on private land without telling the owner.

Pine Ridge Homes Ltd alleged its land, On St Mary Street, Bedwas, was turned “into a flood water attenuation facility” by the council without its knowledge or permission.

The firm claims that in 2007 the council installed various drainage systems on or next to the land, which effectively became a “key element in the management of the Bedwas flood defence system”.

It was only in late 2017 that the firm became aware of the matter, it claims, and planning consent for the land had lapsed by the time the council allegedly “was forced to admit… it had installed” the drainage works.

Some of those works ended up creating a “dual land use” on the site, architect Philip Griffiths told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

This had the effect of “making the planning permission granted in April 2008 incapable of being implemented, because it is not possible to build houses and store road flood water on the same land”.

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Mr Griffiths said Pine Ridge Homes’ efforts to resolve the drainage matter before planning permission expired in 2018 encountered “long and protracted” discussions “without a satisfactory conclusion”.

He added that “there would appear to be no records of the works done” on the land in question.

Pine Ridge Homes has now issued a claim for compensation under the Highways Act, as well as for damages for trespass and nuisance.

The sums involved are “in excess of £500,000”.

“Local authorities should not trespass onto other people’s land by constructing drainage facilities and then unlawfully flooding that land using their newly constructed drainage facilities,” Mr Griffiths said. “Local authorities should also keep records of works done and money spent in doing those works.”

A Caerphilly County Borough Council spokesman told the LDRS the local authority was unable to comment due to ongoing legal proceedings.