Sewage - full facts have been muddied

I find myself particularly angry at the disingenuous comments of the Southern Water spokesperson regarding the over flowing sewage problem that some residents in Station Road, Hellingly, were experiencing over the Christmas period (Express January 11, p7).

I believe that the full facts have been muddied by Southern Water.

It is true that the old hospital site when in full operation would likely discharge more foul water than the expected amount from the complete housing development. From its construction the hospital and its surrounding responsibilities had its own separate sewer that went across the open farmland to its own very basic sewage plant.

The plant itself became redundant in the mid 1970s after the sewer had a direct connection onto the upgraded main sewage system that was being installed in the area including the Hailsham North treatment works.

However,the residents of Hellingly village, including Station Road had main drainage installed at a similar time.

The system in this area relies on two pumping stations. I think it highly unlikely that the design capacity of the sewer and pumping stations included the capacity of a housing development 35 years later, but I could be proved wrong. At that time there were, and still are, three properties in Park Road that could not be connected to that system then, because of the increased cost due to the properties being slightly lower lying than Station Road.

As no doubt a cost saving short cut, the lower end of the new housing development at Hellingly has been connected into the end of the original Station Road main sewage system right outside the affected residents’ properties.

Need I say more!

With the re development of the hospital site has come for some local residents the near daily experience of noise, dirt and inconvenience.

There has been late execution of poorly designed infrastructure (several years behind schedule).

The new section of New Road continues to flood in heavy rainfall despite adding three attenuation ponds and other drainage works.

Work also stopped before Christmas on the junction improvements of the A271 after difficulties became eventually obvious to those attempting to install a roundabout on the existing cambered road surface. More delays.

With these and other faux-pas going on, I have little confidence that the plans for the extra 1,000 or so houses in the immediate vicinity, planned by the various developers and rubber stamped by our councils, will go ahead without further existing properties experiencing sewage and groundwater flooding risks.

I might finally add that I have lived in the area on and off for 60 odd years and worked for many

years at Hellingly Hospital.

I took much interest in the long awaited sewage infrastructure of the 1970s as many of us experienced similar situations in winter as these unfortunate Station Road residents.

This was then due to a near total reliance of cesspools. Main drainage was installed to prevent this.

J P Hoad

disillusioned of Hellingly