A HAMPSHIRE developer building more than 40 homes has been accused of causing flooding problems by altering the scheme’s drainage system without planning permission.

Council chiefs are threatening to serve an injunction on Vivid Homes to prevent any of the houses at Fawley Road, Hythe, being sold or occupied pending the outcome of talks.

Critics say the alternative drainage system being installed by the housing association is causing water to flood a neighbouring farm.

Consent for the 45-home development was granted three years ago subject to conditions, one of which said the drains should be “fully in accordance” with the submitted design.

Earlier this year the applicants submitted proposals for a system that differed from the previously approved plans.

New Forest District Council says the new scheme is already being implemented, even though Southern Water and Hampshire County Council’s flood water management team have yet to confirm that the design is acceptable.

Planning officer Ian Rayner has sent a hard-hitting email to Vivid, saying a “significant proportion” of the unauthorised work has been completed.

He adds: “There are significant concerns as to whether the alternative scheme will be as effective as the previously approved scheme.

“Moreover you have continued to build the development on the basis of a particular drainage scheme you do not have planning permission for.

“It’s not acceptable for you to continue marketing the properties or make plans for any property to be occupied before the scheme is granted.

“We could need to look at serving an injunction to stop the occupation of any dwelling whilst the (new) drainage proposals remain to be approved.”

John Penny, of neighbouring Forest Lodge Farm, is worried about cracks that have appeared in buildings on his land.

He said huge soakaways had already resulted in “significant” amounts of water flooding his property, adding: “The scheme should not affect adjoining land.”

Mark Batchelor, commercial director at Vivid, said: “We received planning permission for the site and started work.

“We have since submitted an application to vary a planning condition related to the surface water drainage design. We’ve submitted the alteration so that the design works better for the local community. The application is currently with the council and we’re in communication with them to discuss the best way forward.”

As reported, the building site was hit by a major fire in January.

The blaze, which is being treated as suspected arson, destroyed a three-storey block of eight flats under construction.