On Friday the 24th of April 2020 we discovered purely by a chance viewing of the local planning web site that the companies behind the Comeytrowe/Trull  development had just submitted a planning application to build a large service infrastructure close to our home. The application in question was for a ‘Foul Water (Sewage) Pumping Station, Mains Water Booster Station, Gas Pressure Reducing Station and 330,000L Foul Water (Sewage) Storage Tank’. This facility was planned to serve the 2,000 new homes being built in the Comeytrowe/Trull area, and the various parts of it were to be sited adjacent to existing residential housing and close to Galmington Stream. 

The proposal showed the main compound, containing the sewage pumping station and the water booster station, would be one metre from our garden wall and just a few metres from our house. We later learned that the actual covering letter for the application from the developer’s Agent to the local planning authority was dated 23rd March. Readers may well recall this precise date as it was the day the country entered lockdown to slow the spread of Covid-19.The local planning authority has since made clear lockdown would result in a significant reduction in their activities to notify local residents of new planning applications as they took care to protect their staff and others from infection. 

The proposed pumping stations had not been mentioned in the original outline planning application for the development or raised at any of the consultation meetings with local residents. Indeed the foul water strategy submitted for the development stated that a new foul water pumping station would not be needed.

As most Comeytrowe residents know Galmington stream is a haven for wildlife and, as it runs through to the town centre, provides a home to little egret, kingfishers, otters and other species of wildlife and waterfowl. It is enjoyed and cared for by plenty of the residents. Children and dogs play in the stream which in many instances actually runs through the back gardens of many long established Taunton homes.

The conditions of the approval for the outline planning application for the development recognized the need to protect Galmington Stream, especially at Horts Bridge, since as it stated this was within Environment Agency Flood Zones category 2 & 3 (medium to high risk of flooding). The area was designated as a “Green Area”, to be used by both the new and existing residents of the expanded local community. The area now planned for the sewage compound was specifically due to become the key northern part of Hort’s Bridge Park. This park was planned to be at the heart of the community, to protect the environment and support social cohesion. We wonder how can a “Green Area” create social cohesion between two communities when it has a sewage utility compound, surrounded by steel security fencing,  right in the middle of it

 Foul Water (Sewage) Pumping Stations are frequently at risk of blockages. These blockages usually occur due to items such as wet wipes & sanitary products being flushed down toilets. When high rainfall events and consequent flooding combine with these blockages the inevitable result is a spillage of raw sewage. In this case the station could spill into the Galmington Stream, just 15 metres away. There is nothing in the plans to ensure this cannot happen. Trout and other species that  inhabit the stream require clean water. The size and position of these pumping stations would increase the flood risk and the potential for pollution dramatically. If we do not ensure that this pumping infrastructure is redesigned and relocated to a safer place, we risk losing the wildlife population that exists in and around the stream and making the lives of residents very unpleasant.

The planning application for the pumping stations puts many Galmington and Comeytrowe residents, as well as the residents further into the centre of Taunton, at increased risk of serious flooding and pollution. The station itself will create more surface run off and reduce groundwater capacity at a location where Galmington stream already bursts its banks almost every year. 

There will be no amenity in this facility for any resident of Galmington or Comeytrowe, indeed it will result in a loss of amenity. The developers have hundreds of acres on which to position this utility site, we only ask that they design a better facility and move it away from Galmington Stream and local residents to somewhere safer. In the same way that they have ensured a high level of amenity for the houses they are building to sell. 

Please sign this petition to support the objection to this planning application at  www.change.org/GalmingtonStream 

You can also view and make your objections to the planning department at www.somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk planning application number 42/20/0024

And if you want to get in touch we are comeytroweresidents@gmail.com

Galmington Stream – Keep It Clean!

Written by Andrew Stainthorpe

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