Village dispute over sewage works plan
A plan by Anglian Water to build a sewage pumping station on part of a Norfolk common has prompted a lobby group to brand the works 'unacceptable'.But the community in Thornage, near Holt, has made no such complaints and will benefit from much improved sewerage thanks to the works.
A plan by Anglian Water to build a sewage pumping station on part of a Norfolk common has prompted a lobby group to brand the works 'unacceptable'.
But the community in Thornage, near Holt, has made no such complaints and will benefit from much improved sewerage thanks to the works. Villagers have complained that the high water table and poor soils do not allow septic tanks and soakaways to work properly.
The plan has been given the thumbs up by the Planning Inspectorate, the body which makes such decisions under commons law.
Inspector Gina Warman assessed the request by Anglian Water, an objection by the Open Spaces Society and a number of other factors before deciding to give the go ahead.
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The inspector said the parish council was in support of the plan and added: 'It is considered that, on balance, the potential impact on the landscape is outweighed by the benefits to public health of a fully functioning and maintainable sewerage system.'
Open Spaces Society bosses said they were 'dismayed' at the decision, describing the 1.6ha common as 'delightful'.
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'This attractive common is of great landscape beauty, and we considered that the proposed works would be unacceptable in this sensitive location,' said general secretary Kate Ashbrook.
'While we accept that Anglian Water will endeavour to make the works as visually sympathetic as possible, we fear they will have a serious impact.
'In particular, there is to be a hardstanding where maintenance vehicles may park, and this will suburbanise the area and encourage others to park here too.
'Common land is a unique heritage and the Norfolk commons are generally small and scattered. They are oases of natural beauty in an agricultural landscape. We should treasure our commons, not allow them to be developed.'
Anglian Water spokesman Sara Rowland said residents had approached them asking them to deal with contamination of the local environment from septic tanks.
'It was identified that the village would benefit significantly from having a public sewerage system.
'During the planning of a scheme to provide sewerage services with minimal impact on the surroundings Anglian Water worked with residents and the parish council at every opportunity.
'Although building a pumping station on common land was not Anglian Water's first choice of location, following recommendation from local stakeholders, we applied for permission.'
The pumping station will collect sewage from the village and pump it to the wastewater treatment works in Holt.