Fressingfield villagers fear old sewers will not cope
Worried villagers in Fressingfield are calling for action after sewers in the village overflowed for the fourth time in four months.
Water, toilet paper, food debris and other human waste burst through three manhole covers over the Easter Bank Holiday, leaving residents fuming.
They say that flooding and sewerage problems have been a problem for more than 20 years – and are getting worse.
A total of 53 new homes have been approved for the village with a further three applications for 233 properties in the offing, more than doubling the size of the village.
“The sewers in Fressingfield are already overflowing and the system cannot cope,” said resident Sharon Lytton.
“Horrible stinking sewage is regularly bubbling into Low Road with heavy rain.
“We are worried that any more households coming onto the system would create even worse problems, such as sewage backing up into their homes.
“Many residents are convinced the sewer system is at capacity and can take no more houses.”
Residents formed a pressure group called Supporters Against Fressingfield Expansion (Safe) last year.
Mid Suffolk District Council currently has no five-year housing land supply plan, which residents claim leaves the door open for developers.
“Under current regulations, developers don’t have to pay for any extra sewer capacity needed when they build,” added Mrs Lytton.
“Anglian Water only invests in added capacity or upgrades when it is commercially viable.
“It is also only able to comment on individual applications and not on the cumulative effect on the sewers of multiple applications.
“Mid Suffolk is the accountable authority, yet is under tremendous pressure from government to approve major housing applications.
“Despite the many concerns put to Anglian Water, Mid Suffolk Council and Suffolk County Council about sewage and flooding, there still seems to be no solution.
“Overflowing sewage poses a public health hazard and cannot be acceptable in 21st century England.”
Residents say flooding on Low Road, the lowest point of the village, is a regular problem.
“When the sewers come up, this disseminates waste over 300 yards,” said Dr John Castro, chairman of Safe.
“Early correspondence as far back as 1998 between the then MP and Anglian water proves this has been a problem for a long time. These sewers were originally built in 1946.”
An Anglian Water spokesperson, said: “The sustained heavy rainfall we have experienced recently has led to additional surface water and groundwater entering the foul sewerage network at Low Road pumping station, which has led to some surface flooding in the area.
“Under normal conditions, the pumping station has plenty of capacity to service the houses in its catchment.
“In addition, last year we made some improvements to the pumping station which has improved the overall flow capacity through the sewer.
“Since this work was completed, we have had no technical issues at the pumping station. The only two incidents since this work have been as a result of heavy rainfall in the area, which puts extra, but unusual, stress on the system.”
A spokesman for Mid Suffolk District Council, said: “The issues with the sewerage have been reported, and they will be considered and measured as part of the planning process.”
Regarding proposals for extra housing, the spokesman, added: “We have carried out an assessment of all the proposed major development sites in Fressingfield, looking at sewerage network capacity, surface water drainage and the Water Recycling Centre capacity and we have provided Mid Suffolk DC with our thoughts and recommendations.
“We have raised concerns around foul sewerage network capacity with two of the proposed sites: land at Post Mill Lane and land off Stradbrook Road. We will continue to work with developers and the Local Planning Authority (LPA) and monitor the situation in Fressingfield. All our comments to the LPA are available to view on the Mid Suffolk website.”