The truth behind a viral image of a housing estate in Rochdale ‘flooded’ during Storm Christoph

Russell Homes say the submerged area of the site is supposed to flood, and that no homes are being built there.

A developer has insisted that a housing estate on a flood plain in Rochdale has not flooded during Storm Christoph after pictures of submerged sections of the site went viral.


Thousands of Twitter users have seen and shared images of high water levels at Stubley Meadows in Littleborough where 96 homes are being built.

No homes are being built in the submerged area shown near the River Roch and Russell Homes say the images posted on Thursday actually show onsite flood water drainage systems are working.

The developer’s plans to build on land at risk of flooding were controversially approved by Rochdale council last November despite concerns from some residents.

Work at the 16-acre site on New Road has already started, with prospective tenants and homeowners already buying up some of the properties.

A small part of the site where the two, three and four-bedroom homes – which will include properties for shared ownership and affordable rent – are being built on a flood zone with a medium chance of flooding.

But a ‘cut and fill operation’ has raised the ground level of the one-acre hollow at the centre of the site to take these houses out of the flood zone.

The southernmost part of the site, seen in the viral picture, is at the highest risk of flooding and is designed to flood in the event of extreme weather like Storm Christoph.

Water drains to this section of the development opposite the River Roch and is stored until it can be slowly released into the watercourse when flood levels subside.

The Environment Agency, which had no objections to the development when it went before Rochdale’s planning committee, said it ‘will not be at an unacceptable risk of flooding or exacerbate flood risk elsewhere’.

Article from Manchester Evening News, Feb 2021