Shipston residents complain of sewage flooding into their gardens
Residents of a street in Shipston are in despair after being continually flooded by a sea of sewage and claim that authorities have refused to take their problems seriously.
After rain last week, human faeces and other waste mixed with rainwater to form a brown sludge that oozed up from the sewers, surging onto gardens of properties on Queens Avenue and giving off nasty smell.
Worst hit was Pat Perkins, 81, a widower who lives on his own at number nine.
The land around his house has been a no-go zone for the past year and he can no longer grow vegetables or entertain his grandchildren in his garden. After last weekend’s flood, crews from Severn Trent instigated a clean-up which saw 26 sacks of raw sewage removed.
Despite being hit by five similar sewage floods in the past six months, residents say that Severn Trent have yet to properly investigate what has gone on.
Pat said: “We are passed from pillar to post, with no one accepting responsibility. My sons have called Severn Trent, but they only come and clean up. I’d like to see it sorted once and for all, but it’s been going on so long now that nobody seems bothered.”
Sadly Pat lost his wife of 60 years, Marlene, two years ago, and he says the situation with the sewage has contributed to problems with his mental health. “Every time it rains I think here we go again, and it gets me down,” he said.
Like many, Pat says the problem has got noticeably worse in the last few years since hundreds of new houses have been built on the hill at the top of the town.
Queens Avenue resident, Victoria Smith, said: “Our home was wrecked twice last year during lockdown. It is a devastating experience and a great risk to health. We have found that no one will take full accountability: Severn Trent, CALA, Taylor Wimpey… They all blame each other.”
Despairing of the situation, Pat’s neighbour Jenny Warner got in touch with the Herald requesting that last weekend’s devastating scenes in Queens Avenue be photographed.
Shaune Perkins, Pat’s son, commented: “The residents have not been listened to. Severn Trent say they have only logged two flood complaints, but this has been going on with people complaining for a long time with no action taken.
“It’s only now that we’ve complained to MP Nadhim Zahawi and the Herald that the authorities are taking notice. It shouldn’t have to be like that, it’s disgusting that no one listened to us before.”
In a statement to the Herald, a Severn Trent spokesperson responded: “We know how distressing flooding can be, especially sewer flooding, and would like to apologise to any of our customers impacted by the issues in Shipston.
“We want to reassure everyone that we’re investigating the cause of the problem and are working to resolve it as quickly as possible, and we’ve spoken to and updated a customer today with our plans who’s been affected.
“We’re already carrying out some immediate work on the affected sewer pipe as a priority, which includes visiting a property today to use CCTV to check the pipe, with a view of work starting tomorrow.
“We’ll then investigate our network further to understand if there’s any other issues, as well as use CCTV cameras and specialist equipment on the wider network to fully understand what’s happening that could be contributing to the problem.
“Again, we are extremely sorry for the disruption this has caused; it remains an absolute priority for us to get the issue resolved as quickly as possible.”
The Herald asked Severn Trent about the link to the newly-built estates, but they declined to comment at this stage and said they “would not want to speculate” until an investigation had been carried out.
However, similar flooding and sewage problems were experienced by Shipston residents on Campden Road in July 2020, when Severn Trent wrote a letter to one flooded resident asserting that the problem was with new houses built by CALA Homes.
It said: “The root cause of your issue lies within the new CALA Homes development… It was identified that there [is] lots of water running constantly through the sewer lines which pass your house, the source of the water was coming from within the new development… causing hydraulic overload at your property.”
The problems in Queens Avenue sound similar according to Shaune, who said: “Even when it’s not been raining you can hear water pouring through the sewers – and it’s clear water, which it shouldn’t be.”
Responding to the Herald on the matter, a CALA Homes spokesperson said: “CALA takes issues of this nature very seriously and we act swiftly to remedy these problems, when required.
“Some remedial works relating to drainage on our Shipston development were required over 12 months ago. All works were finalised in September 2020 and have subsequently been signed off.
“We have been provided with no evidence to suggest that these works or the development’s drainage contributed to, or are in relation to, the issues in Shipston this year.
“As our development is over half a mile away from the location of the current flooding, and our sewerage and drainage provision is efficient and has been signed off by Severn Trent, this is a matter for Severn Trent to remedy.”