Green Party Councillor Jacqui Hodgson has hit out at developers in light of recent storm floods.

The Devon County, South Hams District and Totnes Town Councillor said the storms “far exceeded previous flooding events” in the hamlet of Week, Dartington – worsened by house development works at nearby Broom Park and Sawmills Field. A similar severe flooding incident happened in Week last New Year’s Day.

She said: “When plans were finally approved last year for these two developments in the heart of Dartington, questions were raised about drainage plans based on 2013 flood data. Sadly, a request from myself as ward councillor to defer the decision and reconsider against more recent 2022 data was ignored.

“It’s well established as fact each year the risk of flooding increases as climate change causes more extreme weather incidents. To ignore the opportunity for a more thorough risk assessment at planning has put Week at ongoing risk of their homes, many of which are important listed buildings.”

Cllr Hodgson said other problems with drainage from Sawmills Field, include “the dubious use” of an unallocated site at Droridge Field to carry surface water from Sawmills Field to Bidwell Brook. She added: “Last week a large section of the field, which has been assessed as a rare ancient meadow, has had another deep trench dug across one end as apparently the underground pipes failed to meet in the middle as expected. At the planning committee all were assured there’d be no disturbance to the surface of the field as the pipe would run underneath.

“An ecology report confirmed the ecological importance of this unspoilt meadow as one of just three per cent left in the UK. Natural England raised concerns and said wildlife surveys should be carried out prior to any permissions or works taking place in this field. All of this has been ignored and still I cannot believe how these very destructive works can be deemed to be legal. How much more ecological damage will take place before planners and developers are held to account over this appalling destruction of important wildlife areas?”

A spokesperson from Baker Estates replied: “We have not received any reports of flooding in Week. Indeed, the hamlet of Week is upstream from our site so would never flood as a direct result of our development. Our applications were carefully considered in detail and underwent a robust assessment by Devon County Council Local Flood Risk Authority and fully took into account climate change as part of the consent given to build in Dartington.

“The delivery of much needed affordable and open market housing, together with associated infrastructure improvements and s106 contributions, do not come without the realities of construction.

“In this case, part of the underground drainage pipe crossing this field has required repair, and this has been undertaken with as minimal disturbance as possible.

“We can confirm all relevant approvals are in place in respect of the development and compliance with these approvals is continually monitored by the local planning authority.

“We welcome open dialogue with local councillors wherever we build in the south west and our reputation as an award-winning local housebuilder is very important to us. To date, none of these concerns have been raised with us by Cllr Hodgson.”