Fix our sewage system once and for all, Slimbridge parishioners beg Severn Trent after putting up with foul water for years

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Gazette Series: Photograph of the Author by , senior reporter covering Dursley, Cam, Wotton-under-Edge, Sharpness, Slimbridge, Berkeley, Coaley, Uley, North Nibley, Stinchcombe and Cambridge

ENOUGH is enough is the message from Slimbridge parishioners after putting up with foul water and sewage problems in their streets and gardens for years.

Homeowners in Slimbridge and Cambridge have finally secured a meeting with Severn Trent to explain their concerns that the current sewage system is not fit for purpose. When there is heavy rainfall, such as just before Christmas last year, human faeces, condoms, nappies and other unpleasant items have been found along Ryles Lane in Cambridge and St John’s Road in Slimbridge.

Houses along St John’s Road, which is the only route to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre, then have the foul water splashed on their walls by passing vehicles.

Homeowners in the area are also experiencing regular incidents of toilets overflowing and sewage pouring out of manholes in their gardens and in the roads.

Denis Bannister, of Churchend in Slimbridge, said he had spent around £1,000 installing a shut-off valve in his garden to isolate his house from the sewage system, using a portable toilet in his house instead.

"It means that if we have a bath or a shower that water goes straight out into our garden. It is not ideal but it saves having everybody’s sewage in my garden," he said.

The issue was brought to a head when Stroud District Council’s development control committee refused planning permission for a 24-house development in Northfields, Cambridge.

They explained there were problems with surface water and foul water disposal, the proposed methods of disposal had not been confirmed and that there was ambiguity in Severn Trent’s responses.

The application had 35 letters of objection, mostly from the Cambridge area.

Severn Trent said they believed the additional foul water from this number of homes would not have a detrimental effect and the system was only affected at times of extreme rainfall.

Retired building consultant Anthony Cope, from Ryles Lane, Cambridge, said homes on the lane either experienced overflowing manholes in their gardens or water coming back through their toilets.

"The thought that they can construct more houses is abhorrent, if they construct more it will be even worse," he said.

Slimbridge Parish Council has organised a meeting with Severn Trent to discuss the situation.

Network county sewage manager of Severn Trent, Craig Bayliss, will be attending the meeting and said he hoped that they could find out the concerns of the residents and explain Severn Trent’s position. He did not want to comment or respond further prior to the meeting.

The public meeting at will be held at Slimbridge Village Hall on Monday, January 28, at 7.30pm.

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