Residents of Westminster Park are furious at Dee Valley Water’s decision to move ahead with the construction of a pumping station, despite the fact that plans have not yet been brought before the Council’s planning committee.
Only late on Wednesday 2 August this week, did householders on Fir Tree Avenue receive notification that preparatory work will start on Monday 7 August to construct the pumping station on a grassed area with mature trees situated between Fir Tree Avenue and the Wrexham Road.
Plans for this work, however, have only just been submitted to the council and have yet to be considered by the Planning Committee. Further to objections by residents, local Westminster Park councillors Neil Sullivan and Razia Daniels have called the plans in for closer scrutiny.
Fir Tree residents, Stephen and Carolyn Barnwell are incensed by the arrogant attitude of Dee Valley Water. “This last minute notification is typical of the high-handed way in which this project has been conducted,” fumed Stephen. “Back in April, without any consultation, and without any intention of applying for planning permission, Dee Valley posted a notice on a nearby fence informing us of their intention to build a pumping station the size of a double garage opposite our house. Further to our objections, they have submitted plans to Cheshire West and Chester Council.
“However now, with breathless arrogance, they have decided that they do not need to wait for planning approval and will proceed anyway,” he added.
From the first, residents have questioned why there is a need for the pumping station, and why it needs to be situated in Fir Tree Avenue. Dee Valley Water claims that it is necessary to meet OfWat’s requirements for resilience in the water supply, but residents are sure that it has more to do with ensuring that there is a good supply to the proposed housing development further down Wrexham Road.
The residents have instigated meetings with Dee Valley Water, which were also attended by MP Chris Matheson and local councillor Neil Sullivan, to request consideration of other possible sites. Chris Matheson has sent a letter to the Council objecting to the plans.
Brian Westcott of the Westminster Park Residents’ Association believes that this pumping station should not be located on Fir Tree Avenue. He says that it should be part of the new development on Wrexham Road.
“Dee Valley Water will need to produce a wider strategy for water supply to the area taking account of the Wrexham Road development,” he explained, “and this pumping station should be incorporated into those plans.”
“We are very concerned about the effects of this pumping station so close to local houses, and the damage that is going to be caused to the trees screening the houses from the Wrexham Road,” he continued. “This area is part of the buffer zone between the Westminster Park estate and the Wrexham Road and we are sure that there are alternative sites in the new development that could accommodate this pumping station and be less damaging to the environment.”
Caption: Carolyn Barnwell and Brian Westcott on the site of the proposed pumping station on Fir Tree Avenue.