Waiting time stinks for Sidmouth shops

07:00 01 September 2014

Louise McCullin of Louise Dress Agents has had enough of the bad drainage smells along Old Fore Street. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 3501-35-14AW

Louise McCullin of Louise Dress Agents has had enough of the bad drainage smells along Old Fore Street. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 3501-35-14AW

Archant

Frustrated town centre traders in Sidmouth, who say the stench of sewage is costing them money, have been told the ‘awful’ smell will not be tackled for months.

Business owners are angry at the news - as it has been delivered just weeks after South West Water (SWW) claimed the problem was solved.

Janis Webley, of Louise Dress Agents, said the smell has lost her customers and is angry that remedy work will not begin until October.

She made dozens of calls to SWW before she got an answer - and is calling for the clean-up to be accelerated.

“I’m losing money – we all are,” said Janis, who works with her daughter, Louise McCullin.

“Women have been saying it’s an awful smell. When you’re an agency selling second hand items, the last thing you want is for people to think it’s the clothes.”

SWW undertook work to clear the pipes on the seafront after receiving an appeal from MP Hugo Swire when he encountered stench of raw sewage in the street at a parade.

The authority said the town’s plumbing was blocked by ‘fatbergs’ – a massive build-up of fat, food waste and debris washed from the roads into the drains. Work before FolkWeek solved the problem for Esplanade businesses but the new smell, which first got up nostrils in Old Fore Street a fortnight ago, seems to be affecting a different line.

Margaret Denver, who runs the design shop next door to Janis, said: “It seems an awfully long time to wait for it to be rectified, but if it’s a major problem there’s going to be a lot of disruption.

“We’ve not been informed about what’s happening – it would’ve been useful for someone to come down.”

Holly Hill, of the Coastal Coffee Lounge, said sewage had been spilling out of the overflow outside the café.

“It was running down the street,” she said. “Customers have complained and it’s put people off. It’s been a big problem.”

A SWW spokesman said a week of sewer cleaning in the area is planned to start in October, once street works notices have been authorised and to avoid undue summer disruption.

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