Southern Water have just completed an upgrade of the Hollingbourne foul water sewerage system by increasing the main sewer which runs from Hasteds along the bourne valley from 150mm to 225mm. Until the work was completed last week Southern Water have had to frequently jet out the system via a manhole in the front garden of a house in Hasteds which has been necessary to prevent flowback into local houses.
Sarah Feasey, Public Engagement Manager at Southern Water writes:-
Our team have re-routed a section of the sewer through the rear garden of Grove Mill Cottage. This has included an upsizing of a section of sewer to 225mm.
Whilst from time to time routine maintenance of the sewer will still be required, we do not believe that the 3 monthly jetting will be needed going forwards.
The problem was first indentified in 2007 when a development of fourteen new houses was proposed for Hasteds and one of the reasons that the project fell by the wayside was the problem with the sewer.
In May 2014 Wealden Homes applied to build 14 houses on the water meadow opposite Godfrey House. The application was strongly opposed by Hollingbourne Parish Council and others on several grounds including the problems with the foul water sewer system and because of the possible loss of surface water drainage which could cause flooding in the Eyhorne Street Conservation Area. Maidstone Borough Council overruled the objections and allowed the development to proceed where the cheapest 2 bedroomed house is £530,000. In the summer of 2015 Eyhorne Street was closed in both directions for several weeks to allow services to be connected to the site which caused inconvenience to many residents and others. No compensation or apology has ever been offered fot the problems caused by the road closure.
The Parish Council has been pressing Southern Water for urgent action on the sewer since work commenced on the site which was previously outside of the village envelope.
The Wealden Homes Godfrey Meadow development is nearing completion with some 11 houses sold to date and the first ones being occupied. As a foul water management scheme the Godfrey Homes sewerage will be stored in tanks before being pumped into the village system at it is understood to be 3am each morning. Hopefully the new pipe will cope and that there are no power cuts.
At the Novermber Parish Council meeting continuing concern was expressed by members of the public about the surface water drainage arrangements and it is understood that surface water is stored in attenuation tanks before being let into the bourne via a culvert. The road in what is now called Godfrey Meadow is not being adopted by Kent County Council Highways because it does not meet their standards and the site management company will be responsible for road and common areas maintenance, drainage, and any street or footpath lighting.
Pictured below (left) is the Godfrey Meadow entrance and (right) are some of the new houses facing the bourne where local residents are concerned that water levels may rise with resulting flooding in the Eyhorne Street Conservation Area. At no time has Wealden Homes met with the Parish Council or local residents to listen to their concerns.