Councillors call for improved communications with utility companies to mitigate the effect of burst water pipes in Southam

Issues affecting schools, businesses and residents of the town have also prompted the leader of Stratford District Council to condemn the lack of money spent on vital infrastructure across the West Midlands.

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 7:31 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 7:38 pm
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Problems with burst water pipes in Southam have prompted calls for improved communications with utility companies.

And the issues affecting schools, businesses and residents of Southam have also prompted the leader of the district council to condemn the lack of money spent on vital infrastructure across the region.

Cllr Andy Crump (Con, Southam South) raised the matter at a full council meeting of Stratford District Council yesterday (Monday July 12).

In a section of the meeting devoted to questions to the leader, Cllr Crump asked: “In our part of the district we have had several water pipe bursts causing significant disruption to our residents and schools and it particularly affects the vulnerable, particularly those who use water to treat medical conditions.

“We feel that Severn Trent needs to invest more in its infrastructure and we are very concerned about the lack of communication around these bursts - it is like Chinese whispers.

“In light of the new South Watershire Local Plan, Cllr Rock (Lib Dem, Napton and Fenny Compton) and I would like some reassurance that the water companies and utility companies can cope with any further developments particularly in the east of the district so that our vulnerable residents are not suffering adversely.”

Cllr Rock added: “We do need a mechanism for getting hold of these people in the utilities - I have been hanging on the phone a long time. We need some sort of a backdoor to get into these places to alert them to what is going on in the community which they don’t seem to know, as well as finding out what they are doing about it.”

Council leader Cllr Tony Jefferson (Con, Welcombe) said more needed to be done by the utility companies and he suggested teaming up with Warwickshire County Council to try to improve the situation.

He added: “One of my very strong views is that we have underinvested in infrastructure for decades and I think it is beginning to bite very hard now that there are more and more houses being built in this district.

“I would wholeheartedly endorse that when we create the new South Warwickshire Plan we really do make sure that utility companies deliver. It is not right that public utilities - even though they are now private companies - should not be held more firmly to account.

“We will try to find a way into Severn Trent and work in conjunction with the county council.. If we adopt a two-pronged approach it might generate more and better results. We are suffering from decades of underinvestment in the water infrastructure and we are going to pay a price for it.”