A dreadful day in Feniton

Today was a truly, truly awful day in Feniton.

Along with many others, I was soaked to the skin dashing round the village in an effort to help those who had turned out to keep drains clear. It was metaphorically all hands to the pump (we don’t have any pumps capable of clearing the road).


Water was gushing off the Wainhomes site through the children’s play area, through the allotments and risking houses further down the road.

Sewage was pouring out of the drains on Ottery Road and a resident who called South West Water was apparently told NOT to use her toilet and to suggest the same to her neighbours. And this is twenty-first century England!


Drains discharging on to Ottery Road

Sewage was discharging again on the road from Feniton old village towards the treatment works where it entered the Vine stream which eventually goes into the River Otter and onward to Budleigh Salterton.

And this is the third time in 10 days over the Christmas period.

The Environment Agency has been informed on each occasion and hopefully a picture will be building up of the inadequacies of the foul water network in the village.

Feniton has really had enough. But there is more to come. The village has been on flood alert for much of the Christmas period, but so far the flood prevention measures put in place on individual properties have held and while roads and gardens have flooded, the houses have remained safe. This is largely due to EDDC engineers who have organised for ditches to be emptied, turning out on New Year’s Day to see what could be done.

But what makes me really, really angry, is that on Tuesday (less than a week away), the Super Inquiry into mass development starts. Three developers intend to surround the village with concrete by building 235 more houses, increasing the size of the village by over 40%.

Current Government planning policy (NPPF) has left East Devon in a vacuum of uncertainty over where development should happen.

The sustainability credentials of the village will be thrashed out over a 2-week period at the Flybe Training Academy in Exeter in front of a Planning Inspector who will decide the fate of the village … and whether indeed it should be turned into a New Town.

But those of us who waded through flood-diluted sewage in the village today know exactly how sustainable Feniton actually is.

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13 Responses to A dreadful day in Feniton

  1. Val Jones says:

    We have all had enough. Please everyone turn out in force. Let’s give a clear message that we want no more concrete on our green fields.

  2. Martin says:

    Firstly I find your comments rather miss leading.
    If EDDC provided adequate road gullies and decent drainage there wouldn’t be so much flooding in this area, and to blame SWW is wrong, the problem is there is to much rain and hydraulic overload on the existing sewer network and the rain has no were else to go but into the sewer causing the drains to back up and affect residents ! And why arnt EDDC hiring in vacuum tankers when there are floods ?

    • susiebond says:

      I’m sorry to hear you consider my comments misleading. The foul water network in Feniton (in the main) is a combined sewer meaning that surface water joins with foul water in one drain because the geology of the area makes soakaways inadequate. The drains under the main estate have only just been adopted by SWW so they are absolutely not to blame for the problems at the moment. However, in my view, they are underestimating the problems currently faced by Feniton and allowing Wainhomes to link up their 50 houses to the current network, which they consider will cope, is complete madness. EDDC engineers did come out today (as I said in my piece) and cleared the ditch of water at Metcombe and Sweetham’s cottages, which is why the situation wasn’t considerably worse.

  3. Jenny says:

    A huge thank you for all you did for the village of Feniton yesterday, Susie. We are fortunate to have you. Now many hundreds of us must attend the Super Inquiry and let’s hope there is a much needed outbreak of collective common sense in those who are to determine our future. The alternative is unthinkable, given the lack of sustainability for mass housing here in Feniton…

  4. Gill Ewings says:

    Martin, Road Gullies Are Not EDDC’s responsibility they are in fact the responsibilty of Devon County Council! The road drainage system discharges into the surface watersystem and not the combined SWW sewer. Despite Sww’s claims the sewer network regularly spews sewage into the roads and into OUR DITCH! regardless of whether it is raining or not! the inadequacy of the Environment agency is highlighted by the fact, that they have nothing in place to be able to refute SWW’s claims,

    I walked our ditch this morning, as I do regularly, there was a sanitary towel and wrapper (I am a woman I know what I am looking at!) but the water was flowing too fast to risk climbing in to retrieve the evidence!

  5. Francis Pyle says:

    Water has been runningI off the 3 fields above the play area and allotments for hundreds off years it would have always taken the same course.Feniton council put the play area their and the swings in the water course making them useless in wet weather .the allotments use to have a ditch from the corner to the entrance this has now been filled in by 3 allotments creating a dam making a lake . This was happening long before Wainhomes came to Feniton, also Wainhomes have removed the topsoil from the part they are developing so no rain can run towards the play area or allotments.

  6. Val Jones says:

    This field is the main cause of flooding in the village. Now Wainhomes have started to concrete over the field, more rain is going into the drainage system not less. Wainhomes have put in a drain to take all the run-off from their newly installed road and this water goes straight into the overflowing drainage system. Before the concrete was put down, some water would have gone into the soil even though a lot ran off. Now as the field continues to be concreted over, more and more water will be channelled into the drainage system. It doesn’t improve the amount of water that goes into the system as the developers claim, it makes it worse. It’s obvious, the water has to go somewhere. It can’t just disappear. We all know the system can’t cope now. It was a mistake to allow the appeal to build 50 on this site. It will be an even bigger mistake to allow more. That is why we are all saying “enough is enough”.

  7. John says:

    Val’s absolutely right. It has always beggered belief that the best way of helping Feniton’s flooding problems is to concrete over hectares of prime agricultural land. In the Proof of Evidence submitted for this week’s Inquiry, Wainhomes boasts that further development with attentuation will offer a 10% improvement on the current run off from the site. However it also adds that any excess – hey, what are the chances of that?! – will be held on the highway area or on open grass areas, and that all flows will go to the SW part of the site where they will join existing overflows. So that’s alright then; i.e. excess flood waters will, er, flood, and/or be pushed into an overloaded drainage system. Meantime Feniton Park notes that the Acland Park site is currently 75% impermeable, and Strategic Land Partnerships claims that their estate will help solve the village’s flooding problems. The developers’ reliance upon attentuation tanks isn’t going to help either: these will silt up over time, while members of the public will be expected generously to upkeep non-adoptable drainage features out of their own pocket. Enough is enough. The last thing Feniton needs is to be turned into an underwater town just to keep developers’ shareholders happy.

  8. Jayne says:

    Wow10% less run off…….that is really great to know that the lower areas of the village will only have to put up with 90% run off flooding their homes now!!!! Cheers!

  9. Gill says:

    Ah yes but no mention of how much extra sewage we’ll be puddling around in! that’s sure to be more than the 10% less run off! so no benefit !

  10. Jayne says:

    Well said Gill! Your absolutely right!

  11. Val Jones says:

    10% less run-off means 10% more water down the drains. What we must remember is that if an area is concreted over, no water can go into the ground all the water has to go into the drains. 10% less run-off is a red herring put out by developers to justify building (and profit), with no regard for the extra water that will actually go into the drainage system. And we all know – more wsater in the drainage system means more flooding and more sewage spill.
    I was talking to a doctor today and when I explained the sewage ran down the roads and went into people’s houses, she was horrified. She said that under no circumstances should it be allowed in this day and age. I completely agree with her

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