Monday, 29 September 2014

Limits to development: Feniton and sewage

This blog has already considered the issue of waste water in Sidmouth:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth and sewage

... and in Budleigh: 
Futures Forum: Limits to development: a return of the 'Sewerage Embargo'?

It's very much a question of 'how to handle development' and 'who pays for infrastructure':
Futures Forum: Persimmon, Sidmouth and "promoting well-designed housing that is sustainable and provides much-needed new housing..."
Futures Forum: Crony capitalism and lemon socialism in East Devon... The costs of "substantial growth and expanding business"

... as well as who should be taking responsibility for water:
Futures Forum: The Circular Economy ... and looking after our water at a local level
Futures Forum: Peak oil, peak soil, peak water... peak everything

We return to Feniton:
Futures Forum: Feniton, development and scaremongering

... where Wainhomes recently won an application to build 50 houses on appeal :
Fight for Feniton's Future - July | 2013 |
BBC News - Hundreds join Feniton protest against homes
Fighting for Feniton – yet again; Wain Homes continues its onslaught | East Devon Alliance

It now seems there are fears about the capacity of the site to handle both surface water and waste water from the new buildings:
Wainhomes – anything but watertight |

Cllr Susie Bond has been pushing for clarification:
Conditions? What conditions? | Susie Bond

... and has just received some feedback:
Update on ’Conditions, what conditions?’ | Susie Bond

In fact, the whole issue was highlighed two years ago by Cllr Claire Wright:

‘Serious risk’ that Feniton sewers would be unable to cope

Thursday, 23 August 2012 by Claire

Lawyers for South West Water have written to East Devon District Council expressing deep concern that further development in Feniton could lead to the sewerage system overflowing onto the village’s roads.

In an email from SWW legal representative Alison Langmead to EDDC’s lawyers on 26 July, she spells out the consequences of building more houses in Feniton without first upgrading the sewage system.

The email was in response to the Wainhomes appeal inquiry for 50 houses, which took place a couple of weeks ago.

Ms Langmead’s email is technical but certain paragraphs are stark in their warning: She said: “There can be no doubt as to the principle of sewerage inadequacy - and its potentially serious consequences - as a material planning consideration. The LPA (EDDC) has been made aware that there is a serious risk that, should this development be allowed to proceed without securing the necessary investigations and improvements first, the foul sewer network would be unable to cope. Further resultant flooding would occur, including flooding of the public highway with foul sewage.

Ms Langmead adds: “There should be no confusion that the increased demand of this development would be likely to lead the public foul sewer network to surcharge, with resultant flooding of foul sewage. Please ensure that the (Planning) Inspectorate is again made aware that, unless the necessary improvements are funded and secured in advance of the development, this development would remain unacceptable and contrary to policy.”

Ms Langmead also expresses surprise and concern that EDDC did not list inadequate sewerage as a reason for refusal for the application.

The representation makes for sobering reading and raises questions about a planning application for 32 houses in the centre of the village, which will come forward for a decision following the results of the Wainhomes inquiry, in a few weeks.

Another developer interested in Feniton - Strategic Land Partnerships - which applied (and was refused) to build 120 houses on land next to Ottery Road (half of which is in my ward) still appears to be waiting in the wings for another chance. SLP appears to now own much of Feniton and even made representations against Wainhomes at its recent inquiry.

Incidentally, Wainhomes was quoted in today’s Express & Echo, during a story entitled ‘developers laying siege to our village’ carrying an interview with Feniton Action Group’s Dr John Withrington and Val Jones, who express their concerns about their village being targeted by developers and the risk of further flooding, in a community already with a major flooding problem.

Strangely, in the article the Wainhomes spokesperson claimed that EDDC supported its application. This is likely to come as a surprise to EDDC’s planning department, which spent an entire week with their legal team, fighting Wainhomes appeal inquiry!


1. At 07:18 pm on 26th Aug val jones wrote:

Thank you Claire for highlighting the serious problem with sewage at Feniton. As we all know when it rains, sewage comes up the manholes and floods on to the road. Some people get it in their gardens - not nice.

I read with interest SWW’s comment about a sewage reason for refusal on the Wainhomes application. I think we were all surprised that one wasn’t put on particularly given the strong opposition SWW made to this application and in fact any development in Feniton, stating that improvements must be made to the sewerage system before any development is allowed.

Something must have gone very wrong that no such reason was applied, given the strong backing EDDC had from SWW.

Regarding the Express and Echo report, Wainhomes comments are very misleading and totally untrue. But after reading their planning application form which is full of spelling mistakes and being given a plan drawn up by their consultants which had the wrong address on it, I wouldn’t really expect them to get anything right.

‘Serious risk’ that Feniton sewers would be unable to cope - Claire Wright

The issue of waste water and 'over-development' seems to be escalating at many contentious sites across the country:
‘Stop flood of homes destroying villages’ | Western Gazette
Sewage fears for proposed Billingshurst homes - Local - West Sussex County Times
Floods and Flushes – About Waste Water Capacity | WeAreResidents.org
Fears of ‘over-development’ in Dereham as Hopkins Homes plan resurfaces - News - Eastern Daily Press - Mobile

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