‘Gunshot’ noise of drain cover in Newton Poppleford finally set to be fixed

Councillor Val Ranger with the problem drain cover in High Street, Newton Poppleford

Councillor Val Ranger with the problem drain cover in High Street, Newton Poppleford - Credit: Archant

Residents are being driven to medication to sleep through noise ‘like gunfire’ when vehicles hit a loose drain cover on the main road through Newton Poppleford.

The issue has been going on for years and Councillor Val Ranger said Devon County Council (DCC) should use its powers to force South West Water (SWW) to fix it.

The work is now scheduled to take place tomorrow (Wednesday) and there will be stop/go controls in place from 9.30am.

“It’s been going on for years – what a debacle,” said Cllr Ranger. “It’s totally unacceptable. It goes on through the night, people are unable to sleep.

“One of my friends who lives nearby said she couldn’t remember a time when it didn’t ‘clack’. I’ve lost track of the number of residents who have raised it with me.

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“I want to know what compensation SWW are offering. I don’t know why DCC don’t use their powers. I understand they have to keep people on board, but utility companies have a job to do, and they’re paid handsomely through our water bills.

“There were 12,000 vehicle movements per day through the village in 2014, and it will be more now. When big vehicles go over the drain it makes a really loud clack – it sounds like a gunshot.

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“People are having to take medication to sleep. If I don’t sleep I can’t cope. It’s affecting people’s mental health and wellbeing.”

DCC told Cllr Ranger the drain was SWW’s responsibility and it had been given 28 days to fix it. The utility company said it was under warranty and had been flagged up, but when she called contractors Kier it had no record of the job.

Cllr Ranger said DCC could and should have given SWW just seven days to fix the drain – and impose a fine if it failed to comply in time.

A SWW spokeswoman said: “Unfortunately, vehicles can damage our infrastructure. This manhole cover was replaced two years ago but, as reported to us on October 5, it has been damaged again.

“Because the A3052 is such a busy road we had to wait until we had authorisation from the highways authority before repairing it.

“We will be replacing the cover and frame tomorrow (November 15).

“Stop/go boards will be in use from 9.30am to enable us to do the work safely.”

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