WAS flooding in the gardens of Ledbury residents caused by a new housing estate? One homeowner says so, but the developer is adamant it's not to blame.

New Street resident Gareth Williams was aghast last week when his and a neighbour’s garden flooded substantially. He said this had never happened to such an extent before, even during the ‘great floods’ of 2007.

Mr Williams believes the Hawk Rise estate, currently being constructed off Leadon Way, is to blame because his home lies at the bottom of Leadon Way and “torrents of water” were coming down on Thursday, November 14.

But Barratt Homes, which is building the 275-home development, has strongly denied the accusation.

Mr Williams said: “We have lived here since 2000, with no problem whatsoever, but since they started to build Hawk Rise, flooding has increased and we’ve had a deluge of water coming into my garden, and into next door’s garden.”

His garden has flooded three times “over the past few months”.

Speaking of November 14, he said: “The water was running down Leadon Way, all the way down into my garden. The water didn’t get into my house, but I fear it will, and the next door down to me they have two young children. I am at the end of my tether.”

Large agricultural fields run alongside Leadon Way, above Hawk Rise, down from the Gloucester Road roundabout, and the sodden condition of the land may have been a factor for the heavy run-off down Leadon Way last week.

There had been a year-long halt on the development of Hawk Rise, following a successful Judicial Review over noise levels, brought by the neighbouring factory, Meadow Cheese.

As late as July 24, according to information supplied to the Herefordshire Council Planning Committee by officer, Carl Brace, the drainage structure on the site was incomplete.

Mr Brace said: “Currently, the site is partially developed with road and drainage infrastructure partially built and completed including main access road and attenuation ponds.”

But Barratt has stated this week that the drainage system had now been built “to an approved design.”

A spokeman for Barratt West Midlands said: “We would like to assure residents who live on and near to the Hawk Rise development that our drainage system has been built to an approved design and it is functioning correctly.”

However, one study, produced by Development Design Solutions of Bromsgrove, as part of the planning process, did indicate that flooding of the site might occur as a one in 30 year happening.

County Councillor Helen I’Anson, who has been contacted by Mr Williams, said she was seeking guidance from council officers, concerning Mr Williams’ complaint.

Ledbury’s Mayor, Cllr Phillip Howells, a county councillor and board member with the Lower Trent Internal Drainage Board, which covers this area, said he would raise the issues of possible water displacement due to developments “as a general issue”.

He said: “We can at least investigate what are likely to be the implications and get informed insight.”