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So will new homes have enough water?
9:50am Saturday 14th September 2013 in News
THAMES Water has changed its mind again over the proposed development at Ridgeway Farm, prompting concern from residents.
The plans for Taylor Wimpey to construct 700 new homes in the area have provoked opposition from councillors and residents after the application was accepted on appeal at Wiltshire Council.
The county council received more than 200 objections but has not agreed to call in the plans for public consultation.
Traffic flow and parking are a particular cause for concern for residents.
Taylor Wimpey has reduced the number of parking spaces for the first phase of development by 16, a drop of 21 per cent, but plan to install eight additional garages.
On July 11, the development planning department at Thames Water wrote to Wiltshire Council detailing objections to the scheme saying there was not sufficient waste water infrastructure or fresh water supply to serve the development.
The letter states unless new drainage works and an impact study of the water supply was carried out, it could lead to sewage flooding and insufficient water supply to homes.
But on July 22 Thames Water withdrew its objection to the water supply network, stating the current capacity could cope with the development.
On September 6 the company reinstated its objections to both the waste and water supply infrastructures.
Kevin Fisher, the chairman of the Shaw Residents’ Association, said: “Thames Water seem to be in a bit of a muddle over capacity issues for Ridgeway Farm.
“First they state the system cannot cope with both supply and waste, then they say they messed up with their modelling and supply is okay but one department states waste is still a problem and another agrees supply is okay but is unclear on waste.
“Now they re-issue their statement saying both supply and waste are a problem. Is this simply incompetence at Thames Water or is there really a problem that needs to be fixed before construction starts at Ridgeway Farm?
“What seems clear is that this development is likely to bring far more than just traffic problems to residents of Swindon.”
A spokesman from Thames Water said: “We work closely with local authorities and developers to make sure there is capacity in our water and sewer network for new developments.
“Our assessments are subject to change over time as new information becomes available.”
l Planned price hikes by Thames Water could be reversed after the industry regulator attacked the company's performance and its demand for extra money.
Thames Water wants permission for a one-off bill increase of up to eight per cent in 2014/15 – equivalent to £29 for Swindon customers – because more customers are struggling to pay their bills and it is having to fund a super sewer under London.
But Ofwat today turned the tables on the company, saying it is exploring whether it has benefited from ultra-low cost of borrowing for big corporations, and if it can claw back money for its 14 million customers.
A Thames Water spokesman said: “We expected the regulator to set out the format for assessing our application.
“This is part of the regulatory process.
“We don’t plan to comment until after Ofwat’s decision in mid-October.”
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