West Suffolk: Hands are tied over planning applications, says Anglian Water

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- Credit: contributed

Anglian Water has insisted its hands are tied when it comes to planning as it moved to address repeated criticism from a number of west Suffolk communities.

The company’s customer liaison manager Victoria Crown told a meeting of Beck Row Parish Council that it had no official say over planning applications as it was no longer a statutory consultee, and could only advise rather than insist on major developments.

The capacity of the sewage network serving a series of villages in Forest Heath, such as Red Lodge, Herringswell and Beck Row, has long been a concern, with villagers feeling that new large-scale housing developments in the area were only exacerbating the problem.

Anglian Water insists the problem is more to do with accessibility rather than capacity, and it is in the final stages of a £2.5million project in the area to install better tanks in more accessible places away from the road.

When asked about how the sewage system would cope with hundreds of extra homes in the village, Ms Crown said: “Anglian Water is not a statutory consultee any longer in terms of housing development. We are approached by developers, plans are put forward, we give our comments and they go back to the planning department.

“We will always say now for any new development that surface water cannot be connected into the foul, to reduce the risk of flooding. We have seen this when we put suggestions forward, and developers have sometimes basically ignored our comments. There is sometimes very little we can do about that.

“If you’re talking seven or eight houses, the chances are it will be passed with no comment. With much larger developments, they tend to take our comments, but we have had examples where sometimes suggestions have been ignored completely.”

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Ms Brown went on to say a developer near King’s Lynn had ignored Anglian Water’s proposals, and connected the surface water into the foul, causing additional flooding problems.

She also said parish councils could consult with Anglian Water directly over any concerns with planning applications.

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