Concerns from Galmington residents continue to grow over plans to build a pumping station on a local flood plain.
‘Galmington Stream – Keep It Clean’ was set up last year by Judy & Andy Stainthorpe who have campaigned tirelessly about the plans to build a pumping station at the rear of their home. The petition now has over 4000 signatures however, the couple have informed Tone News of their concerns once again.
Listen to our EXCLUSIVE interview with Judy & Andy below:
In a detailed letter sent to Tone News, Mr & Mrs Stainthorpe explains more:
Key areas of concern with planning application 42/20/0042
We wanted to get in touch with you at Tone News to express our concerns over the planning application 42/20/0042 for a large sewage pumping station and other infrastructure within the proposed park at Horts Bridge in Galmington. The application which is being voted on at the SWT planning committee meeting on the 25th of February has had over 80 objections raised against it by local residents, along with over 4,000 signatures on the change.org Galmington Stream petition objecting to the position of these utility stations and the risk posed to the environment. Yet, the concerns of the community have still not been addressed and the request for a much-needed environmental impact assessment ignored.
Environmental – Flooding and Pollution:
- Why is there no environmental impact assessment and no noise assessment for this application? An application of this type, where there are serious potential impacts on the environment, should be accompanied by an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment).
- Concern over potential pollution of the stream through leakage from the sewage pumping station or sewage storage tank. Can they guarantee the sewage pumping station or tank will not leak? There are many examples up and down the country of supposedly sealed sewage pumping stations that have leaked into local waterways, the explanation that the proposed pumping station meets the required regulations does not mean that it will not pollute the Galmington stream.
- Increased flood risk, by putting infrastructure including a 330,000L container into a flood plain area. Although the pumping stations have been moved slightly outside of the existing flood plain in the new planning application, that does not take into account an increased flood area/rising water levels in the field, which is expected due to climate change and due to pressure from the increased hard standing in the new development. An increase in the flood levels at Horts Bridge will put many houses and areas along the Galmington stream at an increased risk of flooding.
- Access to the utility stations during times of flooding – as it is well known, Comeytrowe Lane suffers from severe flooding at times of high rainfall, this is usually accompanied with flooding in the field at Horts Bridge. How are emergency service vehicles supposed to access the utility site in the event of a sewage pumping system failure or any other infrastructure failure during this time.
- It has recently been admitted by Wessex Water that the small sewage pumping station in New Barn Park does spill sewage into the stream (something they previously denied). How can Wessex Water be trusted?
- The Wessex Water sewage treatment works at Avonmouth were considered safe and would surely have met with regulatory standards when built. This however did not stop a tragic incident recently, where 4 people lost their lives.
- Ham Sewage Treatment Works is already under significant strain, how will the existing infrastructure deal with the addition of the increased pressure from the new proposed pumping station.
- Wildlife – serious concerns over the impact on the wildlife on the Galmington Stream and the River Tone due to the increased risk of flooding and pollution. The River Tone and the contributories are already polluted with phosphates which are polluting the Somerset Levels, hence the Climate Emergency on the local rivers and streams. There is also a high level of flooding across the region. Why are we even considering the proposal of a planning application that may increase the risk of both flooding and pollution, to be further detrimental to the environment.
Residential – Health & Safety:
- Access – increased risk to pedestrians in the Galmington and Comeytrowe area due to the increased level of construction traffic (short term), service vehicles and 8 metre rigid sewage tankers (long term). Comeytrowe Lane and Queensway are not built to cope with such traffic, with Comeytrowe Lane being single track at a number of points along the lane and without any pedestrian pathway.
- Horts Bridge Park – Pedestrian/Cyclist access – increased risk to pedestrians and cyclists at the proposed entrance to Horts Bridge Park on the western side, as the connecting path from the new western side of the development, it will have a shared entrance to the park with all service vehicles and tankers accessing the utility stations situated in the park.
- Green Space – in the interest of the health and wellbeing of local residents, both existing and new, the Horts Bridge Park was to be the “Green Heart” of the community, giving a green space for residents and to increase social cohesion. A park with play areas, adventure woodland, cycle ways, footpaths, picnic areas and sports areas. How can you have a social green space which includes a large sewage pumping station, a mains water booster station and a mains gas reducing station, each of which is surrounded by 1.8M high security fencing. Hardly a Green Heart for the community. The council did not vote on an outline planning application for this, they voted on what was to be a green space for residents.
- Noise – There has been no noise assessment made for any of the infrastructure included in application 42/20/0042. The Environmental Health Officer stated he could not comment on the application without such an assessment, yet the developers still insist in not carrying one out. Why? Is there a problem they do not want to disclose to the planning committee and residents.
- Odours – many residents live nearby the proposed park area of Horts Bridge, yet no concern has been given on the risk of smell from the sewage pumping station during times of blockages, servicing, emergency emptying of the sewage tank or leakage.
Residents want reassurance that the proposed sewage pumping station, water booster station and mains gas reducing station do not pose any risk to the health, safety and wellbeing of the residents of Taunton and the environment. We would like to know from the planning committee and councillors, who will be responsible if and when things go wrong with this infrastructure. We know it certainly won’t be the developers, as they will state the site was built to UK building standards and that the SWT planning committee and planning officer approved the planning application. It will be left for the residents to suffer, so we want to know who is responsible, who is accountable and essentially who will be liable when things go wrong.. We are looking to the council to defend the residents from harm and protect the environment.