Eastney Pumping station misery sparks demonstration

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SMELLS, noise and damage to property have sparked new complaints from people living close to a flood defence facility.

Continuing problems at Eastney Pumping Station have led to plans for a public demonstration outside the facility in Henderson Road, Eastney.

Henderson Park resident John Stevenson is organising the demonstration, which will take place from 8am next Tuesday.

He said: ‘It’s been a nightmare. We’ve had noise since the works started, 24 hours a day. It continues even now. It keeps us awake.’

The residents of caravans in Henderson Park, and others on nearby Halliday Crescent and Kingsley Road, have also complained that the station, which pumps 1,400 litres of waste water per second to Budds Farm in Havant for treatment, has caused bad smells.

They say it’s because employees of Southern Water, which owns and operates the station, open its doors in hot weather.

Mr Stevenson said: ‘It’s a brand new, state-of-the-art building, but because employees leave the doors open, we have to live with a smell of sewage.’

Residents also claim too few of them have been compensated for damage they say was caused to their homes when the station was being built.

Work began on the £10m facility in June 2008, and finished in June 2010, during which time homeowners claimed vibrations from drilling and development caused cracks in their walls and ceilings.

Mr Stevenson said: ‘We were promised we’d be compensated. Some people have been told their homes were already like that. But we weren’t living in homes with cracks in.’

Mr Stevenson’s demonstration will see about 50 people gather at Southern Water’s Henderson Road base with placards to complain at their treatment.

He said: ‘We are still here, we still care, and we won’t go away. We must be listened to, because we have to live with what the company’s done here.’

Southern Water said its station was key to the city’s sewerage network, and can be used in floods to pump 19,000 litres of water a second. The firm promised the issues would be dealt with. In a statement, it promised to refurbish effluent pumps to reduce noise and smell, replace low level pumps to reduce noise and vibrations and to install a closed-door policy to contain odours.

Its waste water manager Stewart Garrett said: ‘We’re investing heavily in the next five years. This includes improvements to Eastney pumping station to ensure it is working as effectively as possible, while easing the impact on residents living nearby. However, Eastney is a complex site and work can’t be completed overnight. We’d like to thank customers for their patience while we carry out these improvements.’

A company spokeswoman said independent surveyors carried out pre and post-construction surveys on properties, and compensation cases were discussed privately with homeowners.

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