FLOODING could result from building 18 homes on the site of a former agricultural contracting business at Norton, councillors were warned last week.

As a result of Coun Di Keal's plea, members of Ryedale District Council's planning committee rejected the scheme by Thomas Crown Associates to build the houses on land at Lakeside Way, Welham Road.

She told the committee: "The site is too small for 18 dwellings and will potentially lead to overflow parking in already congested nearby streets."

Coun Keal said the area was in on Environment Agency flood plain map so was at a high level of flood risk already. "This would be aggravated by the development of the site which would inevitably mean that there would be less possibility for natural drainage."

"There are long standing issues with flooding in Norton, both from watercourses and sewers. The town is served by an out-dated Victorian sewage system that led to major flooding two years ago. The system is at capacity already and fgurther development in this area will add to the problems residents face when water levels are high and the sewers are unable to take excess levels and overflow - along with their foul contents - into people's and businesses. "

Coun Keal added: "Granting permission for this development will increase the risk to local residents of facing further misery and disruption to their lives, homes and businesses, brought about the sewer flooding and RDC has a responsibility to avoid it at all cost."

Her worries were echoed by fellow Norton councillor, Elizabeth Shields who said there had been many objections to the plan, which would result in one of Norton's few "green" areas. But she was also concerned that the development would have an impact on Norton's infrastructure - its already packed primary school and busy medical centre "It would be folly to build on what is seen as a flood area," she said.

Thomas Crown Associates said the plan was to build one to five bedroom homes in flats, semi-detached and detached properties on the 1.27 acre site"The majority of the site consists of a range of old agricultural storage sheds and buildings, and hard standing , set within an area of close mown improved grassland.

The company said in a statement: "We have provided a substantive case through not only the Government's recent planning policy statements, but also RDC's own planning policies."