Drains on estate ‘threatened by houses’

Residents and councillors are fighting plans for a housing development on an estate in Rugeley where the residents are responsible for their own sewerage system.

Residents and councillors are fighting plans for a housing development on an estate in Rugeley where the residents are responsible for their own sewerage system.

Pear Tree estate was built by the National Coal Board (NCB) in the 1950s and its sewerage and drains system does not meet modern standards. The sewers were not adopted by a water company when the NCB folded and are classed as private – meaning repair costs fall on homeowners. Raw sewage has leaked into streets and gardens.

Rugeley firm Elwell Transport has lodged plans to build a terrace of three two-storey houses in place of a derelict garage court, near Hislop Road.

But Councillor Tony Williams has pledged to lobby the council to throw out the application – and all future applications for the estate – until the burden of maintaining the drains is lifted from residents.

He believes all residents should have to approve plans before they are passed on the basis that they will pay for the damage if the drains are overloaded.

“In an ideal world we’d welcome a housing development on wasted space, but not unless the developer is going to pay for their own sewerage,” he said.

“The message from the Pear Tree is simple, we’re not going to pay for people to connect to our drainage system. I will shout and scream until each new application is turned down.”

In 2007 the government announced that all unadopted sewers should be transferred to one of the ten private water firms, Severn Trent locally. But the scheme will see water bills significantly increase and is still more than a year away from being implemented.

Elwell Transport were not available for comment.