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Sheppey campaigners hope water testing will put-off Halfway homes developer

Campaigners say they are a step closer to stopping a controversial housing development in Halfway from being built.

The Sheppey No More Houses! group is against the 142-home proposal on the former HBC Engineering site, arguing the sewerage system in the area cannot cope.

Outline permission for the homes, including spaces for 225 cars, was granted to Persimmon Homes by Swale council last December.

This was despite people in the area complaining they have been hit by flooding times in recent years, with some experiencing raw sewage up to eight inches deep in their back gardens.

John Walsh, who is part of the group, Sheppey No More Houses!
John Walsh, who is part of the group, Sheppey No More Houses!

But now residents believe the houses may not go ahead after Southern Water started running hydraulic analysis near the site to decide what work is required to create the capacity for a development of its size.

In a letter to Swale council earlier this month, the company states: “Following initial investigations, there is currently inadequate capacity in the local network to provide foul sewage disposal to service the proposed development.

“The proposed development would increase flows to the public sewerage system, and existing properties and land may be subject to a greater risk of flooding as a result.”

Campaigner John Walsh, of Power Station Road, now believes that if Persimmon Homes is told it will have to pay for upgrade work, it will scrap the proposal altogether.

He said: “We’re hoping the cost that will come back from Southern Water will mean there won’t be any financial gain for the builder and maybe the development is down-sized or not built at all.

Southern Water carrying out hydraulic analysis near the site
Southern Water carrying out hydraulic analysis near the site

“Just this weekend, heavy rain has meant the downstairs toilets in our homes won’t flush.

“Every year we dread winter and the rainfall it brings – waking up in the morning to find the downstairs of the house flooded.”

However, a spokesman for Persimmon Homes said the company would be investing in infrastructure and intends to move ahead on the site.

He said: “We will be funding upgrade works to two local pump stations that will provide sufficient capacity to drain the foul water from our development.

“Surface water will go by a Sustainable Urban Drainage System that will be discharged, at greenfield run off rates, in to the local watercourse.”

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