Residents of a hamlet who have repeatedly faced flooding and raw sewage across their properties have been advised to refuse to pay charges to a water utility firm which last year announced a £263m profit until the issue is sorted.
Members of Richmondshire District Council’s planning committee expressed fury that Yorkshire Water had still not resolved water-related issues in Dalton Gates, near Croft on Tees, despite being repeatedly alerted to unsanitary issues over the past year.
In March residents said Dalton Gates had flooded seven times in eight months and raised fears that people could die from the sewage problems.
However, the committee said it was up to residents to deal with the water utility firm as they passed Ward Leisure’s plans to create a holiday park with 38 static caravans on land highlighted by the local flood authority as known to experience surface water flooding.
Residents told the meeting the holiday park would dominate the area and its services and that the applicant had made little effort to respond to their concerns.
They told councillors that no significant action had been taken over the past six months to remedy the persistent flooding issue and despite plans to soak up water on the site, the static caravans would only serve to exacerbate the situation.
While a noise impact study commissioned by the applicants found residents would not be significantly affected, residents said the arrival of 120 people in the hamlet would inevitably ruin its tranquility and also raised concerns over people walking on roads as there are no paths from the site, increased traffic on lanes which suffered from speeding vehicles.
Nevertheless, members were told the former horticulture site had become so overgrown it appeared like a scene from the horror film Day Of The Triffids and the holiday park would improve its appearance.
The meeting heard the council would impose requirements that the site could retain water from a one-in-100-year storm, as well as increase capacity to compensate for climate change and further building in the area.
Councillor Pat Middlemiss described the plans as “absolutely appalling” and pressed other members to listen to the residents appeals.
She said: “The neighbours, the locals are going to have a really rough time with this.”
Most councillors agreed while the holiday park would “change the very nature” of Dalton Gates, they had similar holiday parks in their wards with no issues and that a noise control plan was needed.
They added such sites created significant numbers of jobs and in future more people would be seeking to have holidays in Britain due to Coronavirus.
They said while flooding could be managed to make it no worse, but repeated calls for action by Yorkshire Water to resolve the sewage issues.
The committee’s chairman Councillor John Amsden said Dalton Gates residents should have refused to pay Yorkshire Water’s rates to get the firm to tackle the sewage issue.
He said: “Hit ’em where it hurts because Yorkshire Water are a disgusting bunch. They do not do anything.”
After being told residents had been advised to withhold their rates, a Yorkshire Water spokesman said: “We have investigated and carried out repairs at the site and have seen no further incidents since the work was carried out.
“Our investigations found additional surface water flooding in the area is linked to a highway drain that leads to a collapsed culvert located on a private property nearby. The local authority highways team is investigating further.”