Water boss gets final demand over sewage

A SEWAGE saga that has blighted homes around the borough could come to a head after the situation was blasted as “totally unacceptable.”

A letter signed by Great Yarmouth Borough Council leader Barry Coleman and the council’s managing director Richard Packham, sent last week to Anglian Water’s boss, says “more can and should be done” to sort the problems out.

And it calls for a meeting between water company managing director Peter Simpson and local representatives to unite and thrash out flooding problems.

The move follows ongoing and regular occurrences of raw sewage leaking into the gardens, homes and yards of residents in villages across the borough.

And with reports of everything from sanitary towels through to human excrement emerging from the sewerage systems, villagers are hoping that concrete pledges come out of the meeting. Among some of the areas worst affected by sewage floods are St Johns Road in Belton, Lords Lane in Bradwell, Yarmouth Road in Hemsby and Decoy Road in Ormesby.

Mr Coleman explained that the letter, the first of its kind, was sent to the highest levels at Anglian Water after recent contact from parish councils. He told The Mercury: “They were at their wits’ end, and contacted me because they couldn’t talk to anyone with any authority and felt they were being fobbed off.”

The proposed meeting will be held privately and involve Anglian Water, borough councillors and representatives from the parishes. One of the key issues to be tackled would be that of the management and maintenance of the pumping stations around the borough.

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“One of the things I’m hearing about, are situations in which the auxillary pump and back up equipment isn’t maintained, so if there’s a breakdown it doesn’t work.” said Mr Coleman, who added that “there seems to be poor customer relations when problems do occur”.

Hopeful of results, he pointed to the role the borough council pressure had played in helping bring about the multi-million pound Northgate Street works in Yarmouth after a similar “ground-swell of opinion”.

However, he added the issue of the piping system, some of which is nearly half a century old, would need a more long-term solution.

Fellow cabinet member Barry Stone said there was appreciation for what Anglian Water had done for towns like Gorleston and Yarmouth, but emphasised the rural areas needed more attention.

It was Geoff Freeman, chairman of Ormesby Parish Council, who got the ball rolling last month after contacting Mr Coleman to voice his frustrations following years of flooding problems. “On a local level I would hope they allow us to see the service records for the Ormesby pump, and more broadly I want them to undertake a thorough review of their infrastructure and equipment,” he said.

A spokesman for Anglian Water said: “I can confirm we have received the letter from Great Yarmouth Borough Council, and that we will be attending a meeting with representatives from the borough and parish councils on a date yet to be agreed.”