Worried residents have kicked up a stink over plans to build a new sewage pumping station (SPS) close to their homes.
Thames Water wants to install a new £7.2 million SPS off Hitches Lane in Fleet.
Residents in the area around Calthorpe Park School have suffered regular flooding for years and the problem reached crisis point following the severe weather of December and January.
There were once again complaints of human waste, toilet paper and sanitary products turning up in gardens. Now Thames Water plans to solve the problem by building a new SPS – expected to take 13 months.
But a number of residents question if the new station will be able to cope with the extra development in the area and warn it will be an eyesore.
Anthony Trice said he was concerned the new station was not designed to cope with any potential extension of the nearby Edenbrook estate or the Berkeley Homes plan to build 423 homes at Grove Farm.
“The current facility produces a smell of sewage,” he warned. “Will the vent pipe emit similar smells, which the prevailing wind will distribute to local homes?.
“Is there a need for a permanent crane which will be a blot on the landscape? Could Thames Water not hire a crane for annual maintenance or for emergencies?.”
Liz Freeman said she understood there is a desperate need to sort out the inadequacies of the current pumping station and felt for residents who have suffered for so many years, but objects to the proposals.
She said the site is inappropriate as it is far too close to homes and Calthorpe Park School.
“No amount of screening proposed will disguise the fact that this piece of land is now an industrial facility,” she warned.
“The six-metre tall tower or spout will be an eyesore and is likely to cause bad odours to spread over a much larger distance than before.”
Mrs Freeman said when the Edenbrook development was being debated, one of the concessions for residents was the maintenance of some green space between existing homes and the new estate.
“Developing this green space which serves as a barrier between the houses will be yet another broken promise,” she warned.
'More robust network'
Thames Water said it was building a replacement ‘fit for purpose’ SPS because the present station, built in 1986, can no longer cope.
The SPS will be surrounded by a 1.8m timber fence plus trees to protect the site.
Georgina Seely, programme delivery manager for Thames Water, said: “We know there have been historical problems with sewer flooding in this area of Fleet so we’re pleased to have been able to draw up a solution which will significantly reduce the risk of further flooding in the future.
“Subject to planning permission we aim to begin work on a new sewage pumping station in July.
“We’re investing around £7.2 million in this project and by the time we’ve finished residents will benefit from a more robust sewer network, which we’re sure will be welcome news.”
Hart District Council is due to make a decision on the planning application by June 10.