England’s smallest water company to turn off its taps?
AN HISTORIC water company set up to protect villagers from deadly diseases could be forced to turn off its taps for good as residents struggle with spiralling repair bills.
The Fenny Compton Water Company Ltd – the smallest of its kind in England – was set up by a local landowner in 1886 to help prevent villagers contracting waterborne diseases such as cholera. It once supplied the entire village from a pure spring in the Avon Dassett hills.
The firm still supplies 36 village homes and three businesses, but after years of rising repair costs customers are now facing a £200,000 bill to replace decaying pipes – leading directors to put the firm’s future to a vote.
Company secretary Jill Rankin said: “It’s really, really sad and nobody wants it to shut. But replacing the pipes is going to cost £200,000 and we’ve got £7,000 in the bank.”
She added: “We’re asking the village whether it wants to keep the company going or wants to shut it down and move to Severn Trent.
“As time has gone on we’re having to fix more and more leaks and the cost of fixing them has gone up substantially.
“There used to be a group of men who would go out with shovels and sort it out, but that’s not the way it works these days. Now we have to get expensive contractors in.”
If residents decide to wind up the company and transfer to Severn Trent Water for their supply, each household will be forced to pay a £1,500 fee.
The remaining company funds would then be distributed to pensioners and single parent families in the village.
David Walker and Basil Knight both helped fix leaks in the system in the days before red tape and legislation demanded a more modern approach.
Mr Walker said: “I started repairing bursts with a hammer and chisel. We used to mend it and not charge very much because we were interested in it.
“Then we had to get certificates to dig up the road and then eventually we had to get contractors in who had got the certificates.”
He added: “I personally wouldn’t like to see it shut down because we’ve been looking after it for all these years but the time has come when we have to replace the pipes or we’ve got to give up. It’s an awful shame.”
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Weather for Leamington
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 13 C to 23 C
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