||Posted: 16 Sep. 2018,11:34
Hi - I am new )
I live in a courtyard with 5 cottages at the bottom of the downill site which are the original cottages on site and the developer converted the barns/outbuildings and built 5 new houses. 13 properties in total. The cottages at the bottom of the site were already considered high risk for surface water flooding before the development. Amazingly the Council approved plans for surface water drainage that didn't include ANY drainage for the actual car park which then just drained straight into the Cottages small paved courtyards (they don't have gardens) 4 feet below the car park level. The developer then reluctantly built a soakaway to deal with the problems (just a basic gravel filled hole) right on number 1's boundary within 5m of their cottage which I assume all it is doing is slowly draining all the car park surface water into number 1's courtyard! In the throws of trying to sort this we have now discovered that 11 of the 14 unadoptable surface water chambers were never built which calls into Q what was built? (We already knew that 1/2 of the adoptable drainage system wasn't built either.)
If the surface water chambers aren't there then is the surface water drainage and the soakaways? There was a run (uphill) of roof/rainwater surface drainage from 6 up to 9 but neither of the surface water chambers are there only the 2 ics each end of what is supposed to be a large geolite soakaway in the shrub border. (Wessex Water have said they would expect to see drainage running uphill.)
Then there is a run of roof/rainwater (back and front) running from 14 to 10 and then back into a soakway in 11 and 12's very small, private back gardens on heavy clay!! 5 of the 6 ics haven't been built even though this run goes around several corners. There were supposed to be two ics one each end of the Geolite soakaway but there is only one so we don't even know if the soakaway even extends into 12's garden so if it is not the size recommended then can it do the job? Again there was supposed to be a Geolite soakaway at the entrance to the courtyard with 3 x ics but as none of the ics are there it is doubtful the soakaway was built. So yes, all in all a mess.
So our Q's are:
1. whilst we believe it is against the law to direct water into a neighbours garden from a drainpipe, is it acceptable to channel the surface water from 4 roofs (front and back) into a soakaway in a neighbours very small heavy clay back garden? We realise there are other Q's that arise here because there is, of course the Q of whether soakaways should have even been approved on this land given that it is heavy clay. The field immediately abutting our properties wasn't considered suitable for soakaways, and we have been told that the graveyard (one field over) they have to weight the coffins to stop them floating! We can't find any evidence of percolation tests being carried about before the Council approved soakaways. Obviously we don't want to shoulder this liability in our garden if it is not up to the job and no way of maintaining it.
2. if it is acceptable to channel water into a neighbours private back garden, should there be any agreements in place to allow this?
3. do Geolite soakaways need maintenance ? How are they maintained? And how can we access any of the system given that the ics weren't built? We do have roofs that for some reason create a lot of much and dirt when it rains which lands all over our patios /sheds etc.. So if they need maintenance, then we assume maintenance agreements should have been put in place between the various properties which share the soakaways? Does anyone know how this usually works on new build sites?
4. what would 10 - 14's options be, if we simply abandon the existing system (because there are no ics/no agreements/ and we don't know what is there) and made our own separate provisions? We are a terrace so how could we get water from front to back? What a mess!
Thanks in advance for any replies but this website seemed a good place to start. I can post a plan but not sure how.