SWT set to debate foul pumping station plans in Comeytrowe, Taunton

RESIDENTS in Comeytrowe are upset about a plans for a foul pumping station that could be built on the doorstep of the existing houses.

They say the plans – which also include a water booster station and a gas pressure reducing station – are in an area which they say will divide the new and existing residents, and one that was earmarked for green space in the original outline planning permissions.

The stations are being built as part of the 2,000 home Comeytrowe Urban Extension – now called Orchard Grove. 

READ MORE: Website launches for Orchard Grove, Comeytrowe

Taunton Deane Borough Council granted outline permission in April 2018 for 2,000 homes, along with employment space, a new primary school and a park and ride facility – but the foul pumping station plans were not included.

The homes will be built by Taylor Wimpey, Bovis Homes and Summerfield Developments on agricultural land between the A38 Wellington Road, through Rumwell, and Honiton Road through Trull.

The developers say the pumping station plans “respect, protect and enhance the environment”. 

READ MORE: Details revealed for first phase of 2,000 home development

Judy and Andy Stainthorpe, who live in one of the two houses directly affected by the plans, started a petition when the reserved matters planning application was submitted last year.

Some parts of the plans were not outlined in the initial ‘outline planning’ application, and needed more consideration.

So Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) declared the application ‘invalid’.

READ MORE: Plans for pumping station near Galmington declared invalid

The developers have now resubmitted a full planning permission application.

Somerset County Gazette: Aerial Photo Of The Comeytrowe Urban Extension In Taunton. CREDIT: Ben Holton. Free to use for all BBC wire partners.

Although the wet well (part of the foul pumping station) has now been moved out of the flood zone in the new plans, Mr and Mrs Stainthorpe still believe the plans need more consideration.

They believe the pumping station is too close to the stream and the neighbouring houses.

They are concerned about the effect on wildlife and the possibility that the stations could damage the environment.

According to the latest application, no Environmental Impact Assessment has been carried out.

And residents are concerned about the safety of these stations being placed so closely to people’s homes.

Somerset County Gazette:

A spokesperson for the Orchard Grove Consortium said: “We understand the concerns of local residents regarding the proposed pumping station at Orchard Grove.

“We take our ecological responsibility extremely seriously, and respecting, protecting and enhancing the environment is central to the vision for the development.

“Our plans for the pumping station have been developed following constructive consultation with local stakeholders, including Wessex Water.

“We would like to reassure residents that the pumping station has been designed to meet and exceed national standards in order to ensure that noise and odour do not affect those living nearby, and that the facility operates safely.”

Mrs and Mr Stainthorpe are also concerned about the access lane – which regularly floods.

“We want reassurance on the environment, on our homes, we want a guarantee that the pumping station cannot re-enter the stream,” said Mrs Stainthorpe.

“The stations should be coming off the spine road, because Comeytrowe Lane is single track, with no path because of residents homes.

“You’ll have eight meter sewage tankers coming in, as the sewage tanks have to be able to get access.

“They will be going up and down residential homes where there will be pedestrians, which could be quite dangerous.”

Somerset County Gazette:

The original outline planning application – approved in 2018 – did not include the plans for the stations.

Instead, the space was allocated for green parkland to join the new residents with the existing ones.

Mrs Stainthorpe added: “Everybody has become more aware of how important our green spaces are, we have lots of people walking past our house now as people want to get into green spaces.

“We love Taunton and we really care about the community – it could be such a lovely town.”

The developers have said the space is designed as a “garden community” with 100 acres of open and accessible green space.

“Orchard Grove will have play areas, allotments, sports pitches and parkland,” a spokesperson said.

“The first area to be developed will be known as the ‘western neighbourhood’ and this part of Orchard Grove will be partly defined by the Galmington Stream, with a park and green corridor of land weaving through the heart of the development.”

The plans for the proposed pumping station are currently set to be reviewed by Somerset West and Taunton Council on February 25.

You can sign the petition by visiting change.org or you can view the planning application on the SWT website with this reference 432/20/0042.

Somerset County Gazette | News