Severn Trent Water are currently planning a major engineering project called the Birmingham Resilience Project, that will create a new pipe line between the River Severn at Lickhill near Stourport and the Frankley Water Works near Birmingham. The project will cost circa £250 million and take 3 years to complete and full details can be found at https://www.stwater.co.uk/my-supplies/live-updates/investing-in-local-improvements/birmingham-resilience-project/. The route of the pipeline will take it through the south of the Parish and a significant engineering installation; called a Break Pressure Tank (BPT) is to be located at the top of Putney Lane, close to the Bromsgrove Road.
Below is the only picture of the BPT that has been made available to us and frustratingly no more detailed pictures have been provided to residents. It is difficult to gauge the scale of this facility but we understand it is over 6 metres high and is highly industrial in appearance. It has both high security lighting and fencing surrounding it. During its operation it will be visited frequently by heavy goods vehicles and residents are still awaiting clear information on noise, traffic and other pollution impacts.
The Parish Council recognise the importance of the project to the resilience of the region, however, given the scale of the works to be undertaken there will be significant disruption to our Parish for several years. (The picture of the construction approach below is from Severn Trent’s own planning application and the scale and impact of this type of construction can be seen below). We are also concerned that the BPT design sets an unacceptable precedence for building design within our Greenbelt area.
To date the Parish Council has met with representatives of Severn Trent, with the residents of Day House Bank (who are most likely to be affected by the construction work) and also with the local planning authorities and the District and County Councillors to ensure they understand the views of the community. On behalf of residents the Parish Council have raised several concerns with Severn Trent and have asked for assurances and commitments about several aspects of the project. These include:
- The control and minimisation of construction traffic through the Parish.
- Assurances that disruption, noise and pollution resulting from both construction and operation are minimised.
- Concerns about the size and scale of the Break Pressure Tank and its supporting infrastructure that is proposed for Putney Lane and to ensure that its design is appropriate to the rural environment and does not affect residents unduly.
- That Severn Trent fully recognises and then fulfils its obligations to reinstate the environment after the works are completed. (This issue is of particular concern given the significant number of outstanding defects such as the Park car park surface as well the quality of the pavement and grass verge on St Kenelm’s Road following Severn Trent’s engineering works in 2012.) To this end we have asked Severn Trent to correct these historic problems thereby demonstrating their commitment to our community. However, we have not yet received a response to this request.
- That Severn Trent makes a lasting contribution to our community as a way of compensating us for the disruption. We have suggested Severn Trent pay for proper traffic calming along Day House Bank and remodel the junction between Day House Bank and the Bromsgrove Road to compensate those most heavily affected by the works. We have also suggested that Severn Trent contribute to a project at St Kenelm’s School to refurbish its facilities and update its classrooms, as well as supporting the Parish Council with installing a proper crossing in front of the school.
Unfortunately, at this time the Parish Council does not believe that residents’ concerns have been properly acknowledged or that we have the assurances the community requires. We are also particularly concerned that the consultation undertaken by Severn Trent to date has not been sufficient to allow people to raise concerns before planning permission is given. Though we acknowledge that two exhibitions were undertaken and a number of leaflets sent, critical information about the size and design of the Break Pressure Tank, as well as the impact on our community of the pipe construction, has not been openly presented. We have invited Severn Trent to a Parish Council hosted public meeting on the 14th March at 7pm at St Kenelm’s School. However, at the time of writing we are still awaiting a response from Severn Trent as to whether they will attend and face your questions; please keep checking the Parish Council website for updates.
Severn Trent have now submitted their planning proposal to Bromsgrove Council (Planning Application 16/0085). We are asking all residents to urgently look at these submissions at http://appuview.bromsgrove.gov.uk/online-applications/ and register any concerns you have. Given that the planning submission contains more than 200 documents and given our desire to hold our public meeting with Severn Trent before responding formally to this planning request, we have asked Bromsgrove District Council for an extension to the closing date for comments. However, at the time of writing the closing date for comments remains the 25th February.