A: When AFC Wimbledon and Galliard Homes decide it will get in the way of their development plans.
Bit of weird one, this. The Environment Agency and Merton Borough Council both designate the Plough Lane greyhound stadium site as a category 3b highest risk flood plain. We know this because it was subject to discussion when Merton’s Local Development Framework Document (aka the Sites and Policies Plan) was approved last year.
So why does the AFCW planning application base its calculations on the assumption that the site carries a (slightly) lower 3a flood risk designation? Perhaps the applicants have carried out their own detailed assessment of the site to draw this conclusion? Er, nope, apparently not. Close examination of the vast documentation reveals that the Environment Agency invited them to do so but the developers declined, saying it was not within their remit.
Even weirder, some of the planning documents submitted do in fact accept that the site is largely (all bar a narrow strip of 3a-designated land) a 3b critical flood plain, while the overwhelming majority of others refer to it as category 3a or even category 3 (which applies to none of this land!).
Oh dear, AFCW, it looks like your flood risk assessment is really rather flaky. Planners, take note. Would you really be happy to approve a large-scale development on a flood plain where even those submitting the application can’t make up their minds about what precautions are required by the Environment Agency?