Meeting of Thames Water with SC Parish Council- 18th September 2013

Three representatives of TW outlined their role in relationship to planning & development.

They are involved in consultation at all levels, national, local, and (increasingly) neighbourhood.  However, they do not necessarily pick up all applications, unless consulted by Local Authorities, and LAs are not bound to take all their observations on board. It can be hard for TW to cope with planning if applications come in piecemeal fashion, as happens at present, and to be fully aware of the cumulative effect. For example in SC, they seemed to be unaware of, and certainly could not comment on the two developments on the Ameys & RC Church sites,  as opposed to the ones currently under discussion.

If they consider the existing network inadequate for a development they can impose a Grampian-style condition. This means that there can be no occupation of the buildings until this condition is met. However, this still allows for houses to be built, but not occupied- or even for some to be occupied if the system can cope.

Sewerage: there have been quite a few instances of blockages in SC, but it is hard for TW to assess what is causing these- for example, whether they are due to misuse by residents.  As far as the new developments in Milton Rd are concerned, they think that the system can be upgraded either by enlarging the present pipe or adding an extra line.

The sewage flows north through the village & then via the pumping station to sewage works near Drayton.  Concern was expressed by Bill Hanks about what happens to the water from these works, in view of the risk of flooding.  But flooding is the responsibility of the Environment Agency, and TW do not deal with this. There seems therefore to be a risk of the problem falling between two Authorities. They also said that under new legislation, LAs are to be responsible for lesser water-courses, as opposed to rivers.

When pressed on the possibility of the new warehouse they agreed that sewerage could be a cause for concern. At present they have not been able to study the details.

Water: they are not aware of problems in SC, but Lesley & others raised the question of low water pressure.  If there are problems of this kind residents should report them.

In general, where upgrading is needed, it can be an open question whether the developer is required to pay for this- or it is left by LAs to TW- who pass on the cost to the customer!

Nicholas Richardson