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 in Littleborough.
But 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.
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 make these houses less prone to flooding.
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’.
Russell Homes said its flood risk mitigation measures had worked exactly as planned during the recent storm, which has caused extensive damage across parts of Greater Manchester.
A spokesman added: "This area has historically flooded and will continue to flood.
“Localised flooding is an essential function of the flood plain as it stores water and reduces flooding potential further downstream.
"The marketing sign in this area does not indicate where houses are being built, it is simply positioned in this location as it is adjacent to a public footpath.
"The part of the site being developed does not flood and has not flooded during this period of severe weather.
"The engineering works we have undertaken improves the historic situation by extending the volume of water which can be stored in this part of the flood plain, thereby reducing the risk of flood damage down-stream.”