Schools forced to close after water pipe bursts

TWO schools were forced to shut and more than 200 homes left without running water when a pipe burst in Billingshurst.

Wisborough Green and Billingshurst Primary Schools both closed on Friday November 25 after finding out they had no running water at around 8am.

Trudy Emberson, Wisborough Green headteacher at the School Field, Newpound Lane, school, said: “I contacted West Sussex County Council for advice and to confirm that the school would need to close following a risk assessment which was undertaken by myself and my chair of governors.

“Parents were asked to wait with their children until a final decision was made just after 9am.

“The water came back on at 2.35pm.”

A spokesperson from Southern Water said that the cause was ‘a ten inch water main burst in Billingshurst, at 8am Friday morning’.

They said: “We’ve had about 100 calls from customers in the Billingshurst and Wisborough Green area to report no water.”

More than 200 homes were without water and repair crews were sent out to the site of the burst main to fix the problem.

It was located in the middle of farmland, near Lordings Road.

Businesses across the village suffered from the disruption.

Staff at a High Street hairdressers said they had to buy bottled water to wash customers’ hair.

April Turner, junior stylist at Cezala hairdressers, said: “We had no water to shampoo or colour hair, we couldn’t make tea or coffee, and customers couldn’t use the toilet.

“Because a lot of people who live in Billingshurst came in they did already know the circumstances, but for some reason they still thought they could get their hair done.

“We had to run over to Budgens and grab about 15 bottles of water to use on the customers. We gave them the option and the ones who wanted the water had to put up with the fact that it wasn’t very warm!”

Workers at the Pet Doctors Veterinary Clinic in Jengers Mead were also concerned.

“We didn’t have much water,” a member of staff told the County Times. “Luckily we weren’t overly busy, but if we had been operating it would have been serious. It would have resulted in missing or cancelling operations.”

Meanwhile, just metres away, Dauxwood Pre-school claims it had no problems with water shortage and ‘it was business as usual’ on the day.

In a statement released at 1.30pm on the day Southern Water confirmed that ‘water supplies to the area have now been restored’.

“We would like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding while emergency repairs were being carried out’.

Southern Water was uncertain how the leak occurred but said: “Southern Water’s team of leak detectors will continue their campaign to find and repair leaks on the water supply network.”