PLANS to transform a house near to the River Usk in Newport’s flood zone have been refused for the second time.

Earlier this year, plans to transform 11 Coverack Road from a three bedroom home into a five bed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) were submitted to Newport City Council.

It was the second time that the plans had been submitted, with the first application thrown out in November 2020.

At the time, there was concern that the plans posed a flood risk for those living in ground floor rooms inside the property, as they would not have any space on the upper floor in the event of flooding.

But, despite an amended application which designated the staircase and a 2.48 square metre upstairs landing area as a suitable location for the two downstairs tenants to take refuge in the event of a flood, this was not deemed sufficient to protect the safety of residents.

Commenting on the application, a council planning officer said that in the event of a flood, the area “does not make a good refuge space for two occupants and their personal belongings and consequently there is a high risk to life and property”.

Continuing, they said: “Should a flood event occur, it is considered that the first floor landing area would not provide adequate refuge for the residents of the two ground floor bedrooms. This would give rise to unacceptable implications to the safety and living conditions of prospective occupiers in terms of flood risk.

“The ground floor bedrooms in the HMO would likely be a person’s primary residence and with other bedrooms likely lockable, the opportunities for safe and acceptable refuge become more limited and risk to property would become more significant.

"In addition, flood levels at access points exceeded tolerable limits. If such events occurred at night for example, they would have the potential to flood rooms whilst residents are asleep to levels in excess of bed height.”

Concluding, they determined that: “The proposal will have a significant adverse effect on interests of acknowledged importance, namely safety and residential amenity by reason of flooding and the presence of ground floor bedrooms with no suitable first floor refuge. No information has been submitted that mitigates this objection.”

What could happen next?

While the council’s planning office took issue with the plans, Natural Resources Wales (NRW), which manages flood defences in this area of Newport, did not object to the proposal.

They wrote: “With the addition of the communal area to the first floor, our advice is that (Newport City Council) must now be satisfied that this proposed communal area is acceptable to you in terms of flood risk management.”

Citing the NRW comments, the applicant, Michal Zvala, has lodged an appeal with Planning and Environment Decisions Wales.

He also said that there is a further seven square metre attic space which would be used be residents in the event of an emergency.

Continuing, he said that the rooms would be offered for rent fully furnished, and as a result, residents would not have bulky furniture to move.

Finally, he argued that residents would be made aware of flood risks when accepting tenancy, and that they would be encouraged to sign up to NRW’s flood warning system.

It is not immediately known when this appeal is likely to be considered.