Monday, 28 July 2014

Councillor Nearer To Success In Long Campaign To Improve Residents' Lives

Cllr Hazel Smith
This week Cllr Hazel Smith, Lib Dem representative on South Cambridgeshire District Council for Milton, was able to report to local residents that they were one step nearer to getting the new sewer they have been waiting for, for over 30 years.

New guidance has been issued in Wales which requires water companies to take into account permanent caravan sites in their calculations to determine whether or not a sewer should be provided. Following the Welsh lead it is expected that Defra will recommend that the same guidance be adopted in England - this would eventually improve the environment for the whole community and especially those living at Fen Road, Chesterton.

Cllr Smith said: “This is really good news. We made submissions during the review and we’re happy to see that these have been fully taken into account. When the water companies decide whether they will provide a sewer for residents where there is environmental damage occurring, now permanent caravans and utility blocks will be treated like buildings."

“Unfortunately nothing will change very quickly – the guidance in England may come out fairly soon, but the next step after that would be another petition like we presented in 2007. If it is successful the water company would then be duty-bound to provide a sewer within seven years."

Chesterton Fen residents have reacted positively to both the changes in Wales and the prospect of future changes in England.

Fen Road resident Nelson O’Connor said: “This is good news! We just can't wait for this sewer. It’s ridiculous to have waited so long, we have lived here for 30 years, and if we had been living in a house this would all have been sorted out a long time ago."

Chesterton Fen Road has an extensive Traveller site where, earlier this year, Cllr Smith conducted a survey which counted 274 toilets - all of which currently feed into septic tanks, cesspits and small treatment plants.

Cllr Smith said; “Given the large number of residents and that this is a low-lying area with a relatively high water table it’s good for the whole of Chesterton and everyone who uses the river to see progress like this."

The additional guidance, which requires Water Companies to provide a sewer, has had the following text appended to it in Wales;

"For the sake of clarity, buildings should include mobile homes and caravans on permanent sites, such as holiday parks, and permanent facilities blocks containing toilets and washing facilities.”