Baffling decision by SWW

Deep concern has been expressed that South West Water (SWW) has allowed Wainhomes to build in Feniton and connect up to the foul water network without any improvements being made to the existing system. A condition of the appeal, when it was allowed last year, reads:

No building hereby permitted shall be occupied until works to improve the foul sewerage network to enable it to cope with the flows from the proposed development have been completed.

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Wainhomes have paid for the video survey of the foul water network which was carried out independently and as a result of that survey, SWW decided that 50 houses discharging into the existing would not make matters worse.

Along with Feniton Parish Council, I am in protracted email conversation with SWW as to how this could possibly be allowed. The most recent correspondence from Richard Gilpin (Head of Waste Water Services) is reproduced below. Sadly, it fails to address the fact that sewage discharges on to the roads at both ends of the village regardless of the weather conditions and the stench of sewage which pervades Green Lane and the road to Buckerell Cross at times has to be smelt to be believed.

“South West Water’s requirement was that the Wainhomes development should not proceed until such time as an evaluation of the sewer network had been undertaken. If as a result of the evaluation it was considered that improvements were required then these would need to be funded by the developer.

The evaluation of the impact of the development on the sewer network was undertaken at the expense of Wainhomes. The outcome of this determined that we could accept the 50 dwellings without the need for improvements and that the public sewer was able to support the foul flows from these properties.

As you have pointed out at times of heavy rainfall the drainage systems at Feniton do struggle to cope and the sewer network can be hydraulically overloaded [emphasis mine]. A survey of the Feniton catchment has identified issues with both highway drainage and surface water which can overwhelm the combined sewer network.

A key issue is the amount of storm water storage that is at the South West Water pump station and a separate scheme is being evaluated to resolve this problem.

However, South West Water has to evaluate the new properties in regard to their impact on the foul sewer network only. It is not acceptable for South West Water to “charge” the developer to resolve an existing drainage issue. Therefore, a separate South West Water scheme to increase the storm water storage capacity at the local pump station is currently being planned. Once I have details of the delivery dates then I can update you with when this work is planned.

As you are aware remedial works are also planned for the ‘transferred’ (previously private) sewer over the next 18 months and I trust that this re-assures the residents of Feniton of our commitment to the area.”

When you see raw sewage on the access roads to the village or indeed if the foul stench coming from the drains proves too much, may I suggest that residents contact South West Water customer services to question their stance on our ‘hydraulically overloaded’ system?

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2 Responses to Baffling decision by SWW

  1. Val Jones says:

    Thank you Susie for all your efforts. Everyone is the village is baffled as to why Wainhomes were able to overcome the planning condition imposed by the Inspector at the appeal and have gone ahead with their 50 houses which can only make the situation in the village worse. SW Water’s reply to you does nothing to explain why they over-ruled the planning inspector. If you pardon the pun, it stinks. Wainhomes seem to get their own way in everything they do. They seem able to drive a coach and horses through rules and planning conditions. Keep up the good work.

  2. Gill Ewings says:

    I know exactly why they can claim an extra 50 houses won’t be a problem –because thay are discharging ‘screened raw sewage at leisure into our ditch ! We have asked on several occassions for an exact record of the times when they have discharged (as this is only licenced in EXTREME CIRCUMSTANCES whatever they are as no-one seems to want to explain) but SWW have declined to tell us! we now we have to live with the SMELL!

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