ASHFORD Hill villagers have raised concerns about an application by a housing developer to discharge treated sewage into a village brook.
Persimmon Homes Ltd’s application for an environmental permit to the Environment Agency is to discharge 24.3 cubic metres per day of secondary-treated sewage effluent into Baughurst Brook, a tributary of the River Enborne, at land south of Ashford Hill Road.
The permit application relates to an approved planning application to build 35 houses on a greenfield site opposite Ashford Hill Primary School, after the deal was sold on to Persimmon.
A figure of £1,351,000 for connection to the nearest mains sewer, as stipulated in Persimmon’s revised application to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in April, was “financially unviable”, according to the developer.
A cheaper, £300,000 alternative, to discharge treated sewage into the brook, which fluctuates seasonally between almost dry and overflowing, was “reckless”, said villager Mark Oglesby.
The brook runs past the rear of the house of another villager, John Young, who said he was extremely concerned at the proposal, after alerting the EA several times in recent years to pollution of the brook.
“EA representatives have been to inspect the brook on a number of occasions investigating reports of foul smells and dead trout,” said Mr Young.
“Test results have shown extremely poor oxygen levels caused by high levels of pollutants, with recordings as low as only 42 per cent.”
Ashford Hill lacked any mains sewer, or drainage system, with the output from septic tanks already discharged into the brook.
Mr Young said it would be devastating if the waste from the 35-home development was added to this.
He said: “Baughurst Brook runs adjacent to a Site of Special Scientific Interest and English Nature-controlled water meadows, all of which are in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”
He added that flooding of the B3051 at the road bridge near the Ship Inn was also likely to be “significantly exacerbated”.
Villager David Henning, chairman of the Ashford Hill Community Action Group, opposing the development, said the brook was already severely polluted and added: “We hope this application is refused.”
Persimmon Homes Ltd has stated to the borough council that the development would provide 40 per cent affordable housing, equating to 14 houses, and that this quota could not be met unless the lower-cost sewage treatment proposals were approved.
The company has said foul water from the development would be pumped through a rising main to discharge into a foul water sewer at Holt Cottages.
An on-site sewerage treatment plant would also pump treated effluent 500m into a new manhole built into the road on a culvert under the B3051, which would discharge to the east of the site.