A PLAN for a surface water storage basin on the outskirts of Kendal has been turned down following a passionate debate at a South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) meeting.

The proposal, centred on open space to the east of High Sparrowmire and put forward by South Lakes Housing, was prompted by the need to deal with surface water from the planned development of 26 houses to the north of the road.

Many residents got up to speak at the planning committee meeting, with concerns raised that the basin, which would have a ‘uniform depth’ of 400mm, would be inadequate and the surface water running into it would be contaminated by farm animals in the fields behind High Sparrowmire.

Richard Smith said: “They have a very serious problem to the back of their houses with flooding and contamination, for which this proposal does nothing.”

Paul Naylor felt the planned basin would not deal with the problem of surface water, particularly as the weather was now “more volatile” and “severe events more common”.

He said the proposed new development would add “substantial new water into the system”, adding: “I cannot find one aspect of this scheme that existing residents can take comfort in.”

Chris Garner, acting as an agent for the applicant, said the storage basin was “not a substitute for a wider scheme” and the land would be dry “most of the time”. He added it was an “improvement on the current situation.”

Planning officer Andrew Martin said the basin would be a “small measure” to try and “ameliorate” the problem of flooding in the Hallgarth area.

Concerns were also expressed about the danger the basin could pose to children who used the construction site for recreation. Cllr David Webster said: “It’s a magnet for children. You find a big puddle of water and they will say: ‘Play time.’ This is a reckless amount of water to be unprotected especially when there’s children about.”

Cllr Kevin Lancaster proposed “the scheme would be so ineffective at providing a solution to the drainage issue at Hallgarth that the committee refuse it in its present form.”

Councillors voted against the plan based on the basin’s visual impact and design, prompting tears of relief from members of the public .

Discussion of the separate plan to build 26 homes to the north of High Sparrowmire was deferred as the plan was linked to the storage basin.