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Room for only 500 more homes in city's sewers

By West Briton  |  Posted: September 06, 2012

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DISCUSSIONS are taking place over plans to build another 6,000 homes at Truro.

The revelation emerged after it was also revealed the city's sewers can only take the waste of 500 more homes before they reach capacity, documents have revealed.

And a "race" may start between developers to take up the remaining space – which is effectively reserved when planning permission is granted.

The documents detailing the capacity of the city's sewers are contained in the Persimmon Homes' planning application for 320 houses on Tolgarrick Farm, on the corner of Green Lane and Arch Hill.

The paperwork explains that once the sewers are full extensive upgrades along the valley trunk sewer will be needed. This extends from the A390 near Threemilestone, south towards land to the rear of Truro College and then south east along the valley, roughly parallel to the stream.

South West Water (SWW) has said these works are already being discussed with developers, which have plans in the pipeline to build an additional 6,000 homes in the city – details of which have not yet been revealed.

One part of a utilities report submitted as part of the Persimmon planning application states: "The local sewage pipe network currently has spare capacity to accept foul flows from 500 residential units (or the equivalent)."

It continues: "South West Water noted that there are several other applications being prepared in the area and they noted that a planning consent would be necessary to 'reserve capacity' in the foul sewer network.

"It is possible that a 'race' could develop between competing developers.

"If and when upgrades are needed, these are likely to be quite extensive, extending along long lengths of the valley trunk sewer."

Mark Beighton, waste water supply demand manager at SWW, said a "number of options" were being considered to upgrade the sewerage. "We are still evaluating the options so it is not possible to give details of what needs to be done or when it will happen.

"However, it is clear that upgrading or replacement work will be required to the sewerage network and possibly pumping stations to accommodate the flows from the proposed developments."

An e-mail from SWW, which was included in a report covering foul drainage in the Persimmon planning application, confirms that developers will be given sewer space on a "first-come, first-served" basis.

A SWW statement said: "Without any strengthening of the sewerage network, around 500 more homes could be comfortably accommodated; however, we are in discussions with developers to provide additional capacity for up to 6,000 more properties when the Threemilestone development comes to fruition.

"We have already increased the capacity at Newham Sewage Treatment Works to cope with another 2,800 homes and work to upgrade the capacity further is in progress."

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  • Gurnards_Head  |  September 07 2012, 11:32AM

    That says it all, the feeding frenzy surrounding residential planning applications in the Truro area is a mess, it was obvious to a blind man that the infrastructure, sewers, roads, healthcare, was simply not availabe only barely adequate at the moment. That without the at least two extra cars per household, yet the dozy compliant Cornwall Council planners say these developments are needed. Now to make matters worse the blasted coalition gives their developer buddies carte blanch to desecrate our priceless Cornish countryside to BUILD OUR WAY OUT OF RECESSION!!! which is rot piffle and balderdash, look where that got the Irish. In the current climate of austerity where are all the mortgages coming from to buy these largely unwanted homes given the binning of 106 agreements which cans the obligation to even include the present derisory percentage affordable housing in these grotesque developments.

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  • rbest  |  September 07 2012, 10:29AM

    Gues we should have spotted that one, Mice470!

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  • TheodoreV  |  September 06 2012, 1:57PM

    Developers are very good at their PR. In Jonny Mercer's words: "accentuating the positives; eliminating the negatives". Our representatives appear gullible and unable to see through it. As I have said many times, building numberless houses is not an unassailable "good". Apart from its environmental impacts that are very real and damaging, seldom are the more distant impacts considered or costed. This story is just one of them. Upgrading sewers and sewage works, end up on the bills of all water users, just as necessary road infrastructure upgrades end up on our taxes. The only way round this, is to ensure that any major development is always subject to a thorough and independent environmental assessment before the final permission is granted. Rather than weakening planning rules on virgin land development as is proposed by this government, they need to be strengthened to protect us from uncontrolled urban sprawl.

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  • Mice470  |  September 06 2012, 10:57AM

    If there is only room for 500 more homes "in the city's sewers", how many people are already living down them!!!!

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  • Phil_lip  |  September 06 2012, 10:20AM

    Time the profits SWW make from us goes into action then to upgrade Truro's sewage system, if they even make one squeeky noise about government money after all the profits they make then it might be time to drill boreholes in gardens.