A CAMPAIGN group has hit back over claims its complaints about the smell of sewage were “questionable”.

Forty people sent emails to Thames Water and North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson having been surveyed by the Community Communications Partnership about the stink from the Pentylands Lane site.

But the MP alleged that “the letters had been generated by the developers using somewhat questionable processes”. He has now withdrawn the comment after receiving clarification from the CCP group.

CCP’s managing director Henry Lamprecht said: “We ran the campaign to give ordinary people a voice.

"This is entirely in line with the localism agenda where ordinary residents should have a say about matters.

“It is often quite difficult for people to find the right place to make comments and this method enables them to communicate.

"We just want to make things better for the residents who live with this smell and any future residents living there.

“We went to people’s homes and spoke to them on the doorstep, then made it as easy as possible for them by providing an iPad with the necessary set-up to submit their comments.”

The group is acting on behalf of developer Southern & Regional Development, which hopes to submit plans to build housing on a site near the plant. The area has been allocated for development in the town’s neighbourhood plan.

Mr Lamprecht added: “Southern & Regional does not expect Thames Water to pay for the works, they merely want Thames to acknowledge that there is a problem.

"We are not being aggressive about it, we are simply asking that the mitigation work promised years ago is carried out.

“Any development on the site would trigger Section 106 and Community Infrastructure Levy contributions.

"We want Thames Water to work with us and the council to have some of this money allocated to remedial work.”

A Thames Water spokesman said: “Highworth Sewage Works complies with all industry standards regarding odour and previously averaged one complaint every 18 months.

"We recently saw a one-day spike in customer comments regarding the site and we’re investigating what may have led to this.

“We held a drop-in session last week and the handful of customers who attended confirmed they do not believe odour at the site to be a major problem.”