FLOODING which caused severe damage to a school and forced it to close was caused by ‘run-off routes’ from a new nearby housing development, the chairman of governors has said.

A massive rain deluge on Sunday, May 16, left parts of St Mary’s RC Primary, in Victoria Road, Horwich under water and boundary walls next to a playground collapsed under the pressure of the surface water.

The school said that had pupils been on site when the boundary wall collapsed it could have had ‘catastrophic consequences had children been in the vicinity’.

The school is next to a new housing estate developed by Jones Homes at the former Bolton Community College Campus site in Victoria Road.

They were given permission to build 129 homes at the site and work there has been ongoing for several years.

After Sunday’s flood the school closed completely as experts evaluated the safety of the buildings before children began to return last Wednesday.

Stephen Carr, chairman of governors at St Mary’s has now written to Bolton Council detailing his concerns about the college campus development and its effects on the school.

He said “Risks that were obvious to those familiar with the area, have been ignored by those in positions of authority.

“To say I am angry with the situation the school finds itself in is an understatement.

“St Mary’s RC Primary has had to close due to flooding, for the first time in the 30-plus year memory of some staff and governors.

“My concern is that the damage to the school premises has come directly from the development site adjacent to school and on newly created ‘run-off routes’ from this site.

“I acknowledge the council was under different leadership at the time the planning consent but this issue was foreseen and I believe the current closures and damage could have been avoided.”

Mr Carr attached comments made by the governors at St Mary’s in objection to the planning application which referred specifically to many of the risks which manifested themselves on May 16.

He said what happened last Sunday was predicted seven years earlier.

He said the officers’ report to the planning committee said the flood risk assessment plan should reduce water run-off from the site.

Mr Carr added: “Clearly, given the school site has flooded for the first time in memory, either the flood risk assessment was inadequate or the works required have not been carried out.”

He has now requested a full investigation into the causes of flooding in Horwich, a review of the adequacy of the flood risk assessment related to the development next to school and another investigation to understand if all the conditions have been satisfied as per the planning consent.

He also called for an investigation to understand why two of the boundary features between the school and development site failed and what remedial measures will be demanded of the developer to ensure such events do not reoccur.

Ward member for Horwich North East, Cllr Marie Brady praised the work of staff, parents and others in the community who have helped the school and many others affected by the floods.

She said she expected there would be an investigation in to the cause of the floods and any mitigations which could be put in place in due course.

Bolton Council is set to undertake an investigation under section 19 of the flood and water management act.

These happen after a ‘significant’ flood event, when certain criteria are met, such as internal flooding to five or more properties and if damage and disruption is caused to critical infrastructure and buildings, such as major roads and hospitals.

The purpose of such a report is to investigate the events leading up to the flooding, numbers of properties flooded and whether authorities exercised their functions in response to the flood.

Jones Homes was unavailable for comment.