Sewage problem leaves Ottery 'in limbo'

PUBLISHED: 14:53 23 May 2010 | UPDATED: 14:01 18 June 2010

OTTERY is in development limbo because the town s sewerage system is full to capacity.

OTTERY is in development limbo because the town's sewerage system is full to capacity.

Homeowners are concerned by the stench of sewage coming from Ottery's main waste works but are too scared to speak out as they fear for the value of their homes.

South West Water (SWW) said it will not pay for extra investment in Ottery's sewerage system over the next five years as the town has not been budgeted for.

The Herald understands developers will have to fork out as much as £2million to address the issue- if they are to be handed planning permission.

Sewerage was a major determining factor in the refusal of plans to re-generate the town's derelict factory site with nearly 100 new homes. Churchill Property Ltd said it could not meet a cash demand to enhance capacity.

District Councillor David Cox has called on SWW to invest cash and recover it from developers later.

"What is going to happen in Ottery?" he said, "It's a full stop on any meaningful developments for the foreseeable future."

"The town can't stagnate because we don't have capacity to deal with this."

"£2million has been quoted to me. A small developer simply cannot afford that amount. It's a crazy notion. SWW must make the investment and re-coup it over time.

"It's a chicken and egg situation of who pays and when. How long will we have to wait?"

The Herald was told by Riverside View residents: "There are days when you can smell it (sewage). Nobody wants to make a fuss because they don't want to de-value their property. It is a concern."

A spokesperson for South West Water said about Ottery: "The sewage treatment works serving the town are operating near to capacity and would not be able to support new developments without significant extra investment.

"We have finalised our priorities for 2010 and 2015 following extensive consultation.

"They do not include extra investment in sewerage infrastructure around Ottery. It is the responsibility of the developer to apply and pay for extra sewerage services needed by their proposals."

A spokesman for local planning authority East Devon District Council said:

"At the present time it appears the existing infrastructure cannot cope with any large scale increases."

He added EDDC would expect developers to address the issue with SWW and fund or contribute to upgrading the infrastructure.

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