Southern Water Planning Application
Plan LK/WRG042 aka 20/00731/HCS
- NORTHINGTON PARISH COUNCIL OBJECTS TO THIS APPLICATION.
There are many important questions requiring answers, before this application is allowed to proceed.
- Southern Water (SW) is proposing an act of, what appears locally to be, environmental vandalism. The company intends to:
- Install over-ground, 8 miles of black 500mm polyethylene piping
- Stockpile at a local beauty spot, 4.4 miles of black polyethylene pipes on a 40 meters x 40 meters hard-core slab
- Install metal guard fencing to protect the dump
- Build a Water Booster Pumping Station (WBPS) with hard core base on agricultural land near a cluster of dwellings
- Install metal guard fencing to protect a newly built WBPS compound.
- Pay Scant Regard to environmental and residential sensitivities (see below).
- The rejection of viable alternative schemes in favour of a cost-saving, quick-fix solution to a statutory obligation.
- General Comments on SW’s Application
- Alternative Scheme.
Based on its own comprehensive survey dated June 1979, the Southern Water Authority company established a pipeline linked to boreholes near Axford. The scheme delivered water in time of drought through the Candover valley with minimum pipework and minimum damage to the environment. In 2020, a similar scheme would have the support of landowners and locals alike and the environmentally friendly principles on which the 1979 scheme was based are still valid today.
N.B. Application PASS 2.7 reads “To secure a Drought Order for the Candover scheme, Southern Water will need to meet Habitat Regulations Assessment tests and demonstrate imperative reasons of overriding public interest (IROPI) for the project to proceed. This process includes an acceptance that there are no feasible alternatives available.” But there is an alternative and it is set out in the 1979 scheme.
- Environmental Impact.
The overground pipeline is made of Polyethylene Black Plastic. It is 0.5m in diameter and will run for approximately 4.4 miles (7 kms) of which 3.8 miles will pass through Northington.
Safety regulations require that it is fenced and lit at night.
The effect of noise and exhaust pollution from increased traffic flows, during set up and dismantling, and subsequent light pollution will be detrimental to the wealth of wildlife along the proposed route of the pipeline. The roadside verges of Kites Hill are largely native chalk grassland and reflect our floral heritage. Among many plants, Dark Mullein grows here, the food-plant of caterpillars of the Striped Lychnis moth, a nationally scarce and local rarity. Ivy bees have colonized the hedgerows of the downland. White helleborines and chalkland orchids grow in the deep shade beneath the beeches of Kites Hill Copse.
- Risk of Permanency.
SW’s bases its assurance of a 10 year maximum duration on a Section 20 Agreement scheduled to expire in 2030 but the agreement is ‘contingent on the successful implementation of new permanent reliable supplies’ (PASS 3.2). The Candover Drought Order scheme is also included in the Southern Water Resource Management Plan (WRMP), which covers the period 2020-2070. Should ‘reliable supplies’ not be found within 10 years, the Candover scheme affords SW a comfortable cushion, and an opening for a further application for an extension, even permanency.
- Local Disruption Caused By Engineering Works
SW will require:
- Eight months to assemble and dismantle the pipeline, causing severe disruption along narrow country roads.
- How long will SW need to test the pipeline?
- How often will the pipeline be deployed for testing – annually, every 2 years or only when required by a Drought Order?
- How often will it be used based on data of the last ten years?
- Community Involvement – Public Consultation.
On 21 January 2020, Southern Water chose to hold a consultation meeting, not in Northington Village Hall as local residents might reasonably have expected, but in Itchen Abbas three miles away. SW’s representatives proved unable to speak to important details.
- Local Detail
Main Site Compound on Kites Hill.
When the pipeline is not in use, SW propose to store the pipes in a specially built compound on Kites Hill at the entry to Northington village. SW plans to site the new build in a beech copse and will need to fell trees. Permanent hard standing will cover an area of 40 meters x 40 meters to a height of 2.5meters and be screened by 1.8meters of metal palisade fencing but this screen will not completely hide the pile of pipework. Access provision means that the total area required under this application is 40 meters x 80 meters.
- SW already owns a pumping station and storage at Totford, which has recently been upgraded with toilet, shower, drying room and canteen.
- There is ample storage space at SW’s own Otterbourne depot.
- There is also storage space at the HCC Chipping Depot near Micheldever Woods.
Drought conditions build up over several weeks, allowing SW ample time to deliver the pipes from an existing storage site to the “pipe lay down areas” for assembly. This will avoid:
- the expense of building a compound.
- the destruction of a green-field site/copse of valuable natural beauty.
- causing disturbance to wild life and to the surrounding
N.B. The plans show “pipe lay down areas” at intervals along the pipeline to be used when assembling/dismantling the pipeline (Lawn House, Totford/Kites Hill corner).
- Traffic Concerns
The road entrance to the main site compound is half-way up Kites Hill, a road that police and HCC records show, already has severe traffic problems when used by large vehicles.
The entrance to the proposed Water Booster Pumping Station (WBPS) site is at the corner of the field adjacent to Totford Saw Mill. A recent application by the owner of the Saw Mill for a larger entrance was rejected by HCC Highways Department because the proposed entrance has inadequate sight lines.
- Water Booster Pumping Station (WBPS)
Located in Totford, this site, like the main compound, is to be built on a green-field site. It requires a 40 meters x 40 meters area with 20 meters x 20 metres of permanent hard standing. There are plans for three generators on the site.
The pumps, oil tanks and associated equipment will be 2.75 meters high, well above the height of metal fencing. Two reinforced concrete slabs are required to support the three pump sets and MCC Kiosk. There is to be storage for 12,000 litres of fuel. How much of this hard structure will be left behind after the initial try out of the scheme?
There is a sense of permanency about these destructive proposals.
- Noise and Heavy Traffic Pollution
The proposed WBPS site lies
- 40 meters from the boundary of Chapel Cottage.
- 200 meters from four dwellings in Northington.
- 230 meters from the Woolpack Inn and four neighbouring
- 210 meters from The Old Rectory.
Three generators, running 24/7, pumping 27 million litres of water per day and needing 12,000 litres of fuel, is not a small operation. The generators will certainly cause noise and traffic pollution to these properties.
To meet its statutory obligations, SW wishes to put a black plastic illuminated pipeline on the road margins round Northington. The company proposes to store a large quantity of the same pipes on a greenfield site and beauty spot at the entry to Northington village. In addition to this reckless destruction of the Hampshire countryside, SW also proposes to build, very close to local housing, a compound for three booster pumps with the dire prospect of severe noise pollution.
SW has presented the planners with proposals, which will inflict permanent damage on the environment and disfigure an attractive rural village in the heart of Hampshire’s countryside. It is worth noting that in early 2020 SW did not see fit to come to Northington to explain their plans. Covid-19 has allowed the company air-brush out of its planning history this signal dereliction of community duty.
At SW’s consultation on 21 January 2020 in Itchen Abbas Hall, it emerged that SW had rejected a less destructive but more expensive water augmentation scheme. SW have instead chosen a cheaper and more brutal engineering alternative, demonstrating a breath-taking disregard of local sensitivities. SW’s planned defacement of the Hampshire countryside beggars belief.
This overground pipeline proposal has all the hallmarks of a cost saving solution, at the expense of the residents of Northington, Itchen Abbas and the Hampshire countryside.
Northington Parish Council and Northington’s residents, who have had a chance to comment on this draft, ask you introduce a note of common sense into this debate by rejecting this application and requiring SW to radically rethink their plans.