Claims sewage is problem at Eastergate housing site

Some of the flooding highlighted by the Villages Action Group

Some of the flooding highlighted by the Villages Action Group

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ORGANISERS of a protest rally at Eastergate against new housing claim they had to avoid human sewage.

Photographs taken by members of the Villages Action Group as they prepared the route for the protest walk at Manor Farm show human faeces and other sewage contamination around sewer covers at the farm.

The site is earmarked by Arun District Council for a new town of 2,000 homes.

Laurie Ward, one of the protest organisers, said: “It was a disgusting sight.

“The farm is crossed by a sewer main from the villages to Lidsey and there were sanitary products, condoms, faeces and tissues scattered around sewer covers in the fields.

“This is evidence this area is subject to the same issues of rising sewage that parts of Barnham and Eastergate suffer during heavy rain.

“We discussed the problem with the Helyer family, who farm Manor Farm in Eastergate, and they explained that they are not allowed to grow crops for human consumption in these areas.

“Such contaminated land cannot safely be used for gardens and public open spaces.

“These photos and those taken last winter of flooded fields on the farm, and overspill from the Eastergate Rife, leave no room for doubt this area is completely unsuitable for 2,000 houses.”

As reported, several hundred residents turned out in pouring rain on November 23 in the latest rally against the development proposals. Arun has earmarked land in the Eastergate, Barnham and Westergate area as a strategic housing site in its draft local plan land-use blueprint.

But Mr Ward said high groundwater levels infiltrated the old sewer network in winter.

Last winter, saw Southern Water use tankers to take excess sewage away from the villages.

But the new Lidsey surface water management plan, issued by West Sussex County Council, failed to show all the flood risk areas, such as Shripney, Northfields Lane and Nyton Road, he said.

He added: “We feel these issues need to be brought to the attention of all the authorities responsible for flood and sewerage in the area.”