The ArgusOutrage as 'Poohaven' sewage plant is approved (From The Argus)

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Outrage as 'Poohaven' sewage plant is approved

The Argus: Crowds of protesters from Peacehaven gathered outside County Hall in Lewes to voice their anger over the sewage plant Crowds of protesters from Peacehaven gathered outside County Hall in Lewes to voice their anger over the sewage plant

A controversial sewage plant has been approved amid angry protests.

The works, dubbed Poohaven, will be built on the South Downs at Peacheaven.

Protesters threatened to stop paying their water bills as councillors voted for the huge plant by the slimmest of margins of four to three.

Campaigners screamed “traitor” and “shame”

after East Sussex County Council’s planning committee made the decision.

They warned that Southern Water’s £300 million plan for Lower Hoddern Farm, a greenfield site, effectively allows the population of Brighton to “dump” on Peacehaven.

Campaigners opposed to the treatment works vowed to hold further protests. John Hodgson, spokesman for Peacehaven Residents Opposing Urban Development (Proud), said: “Until the company decides to scrap this, people should refuse to pay their bills.”

The sewage plant will be used to treat about 95 million litres of waste water generated by Brighton residents every day before pumping it to Friar’s Bay, Peacehaven.

Katy Hamilton, one of about 50 protesters to pack the meeting at East Sussex County Council’s Lewes headquarters, said: “The people of Brighton are dumping on Peacehaven.

“We are being forced to take all their waste when in reality it should be sorted out in Brighton.”

Proud said demos would now be organised across Peacehaven.

Yesterday’s meeting ends a nine-year struggle by Southern Water to build the facility by 2010 to avoid massive fines for the British Government from the European Union over water cleanliness.

Long delays caused by major opposition means Southern Water will need at least four years to complete construction.

Residents remain convinced the works will look ugly, cause smells and add to horrendous traffic jams on the A259.

Public speakers yesterday claimed alternative brownfield sites were available, including Shoreham harbour.

David Williams, from Peacehaven District Residents Association, said: “The vast majority of residents are opposed to this. Southern Water claims there are no other sites they can use but they must have contingency plans so they must have other sites they can use.”

East Sussex county councillor Simon Kirby, the Tory parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemptown, said: “Peacehaven is a totally inappropriate place for a sewage works. I am absolutely gutted the planning committee has ignored residents’ concerns.”

His Labour opponent Simon Burgess said: “I’m appalled at this decision.

This new sewage works should always have been built on a brownfield site such as Shoreham harbour.”

Councillor Michael Tunwell, planning committee chairman, voted in favour of the plan. He said: “We could all point to other sites and say ‘well it could go there’ but wherever it goes there’s going to be objections. In my opinion there are no better locations available.”

Councillor Godfrey Daniel, who also voted in favour, said: “The experience from elsewhere is that, once built, people forget about them and the issue settles down. This is not a perfect solution but there is no perfect solution.”

Southern Water says the works are crucial for it to improve water quality and comply with EU laws.

David Jobbins, from the firm, said: “There has been an exhaustive site search exercise and Lower Hoddern Farm is the most suitable.”

He said Peacehaven would benefit from a sports pavilion and 34-acre park as part of legal agreements surrounding the plan.

The decision will now be sent to Hazel Blears, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, who has the final say. She is unlikely to reject the plan ministers previously said they broadly approved.

They rejected a previous application last year, partly because of the way the plant looked. Southern Water has since made major amendments and claims it will now blend with its rural surroundings.

The proposal

The sewage works will require a large building at Lower Hoddern Farm but many do not realise there are substantial other works associated with it. They include: An 11km pipe built between Black Rock, Brighton, and the works, enabling waste water to be pumped from the city to the plant.

A 2.5km pipe from Lower Hoddern Farm to Friar’s Bay, tunnelled under homes.

Two underground pumping stations at Marine Drive, Brighton, and Portobello waste treatment works, Telscombe Cliffs.

New underground shafts at sites including Brighton Marina; Roedean Way, Roedean; Greenways, Ovingdean; West Street car park, Rottingdean; land next to Saltdean Lido; land at Hamsey Road, Saltdean and the Meridian Centre car park, Peacehaven.

Timeline

  • 1999: Southern Water shortlists four sites for the waste water treatment plant. They include Newhaven East, Newhaven North, Ovingdean and Lower Hoddern Farm.
  • 2003: Lower Hoddern Farm is confirmed as first choice for the works by Southern Water after an extensive evaluation programme. The then mayor of Peacehaven, Pauline Howard, vows to fight the plan.
  • 2003: The first of many protests are held over the issue.
  • 2004: Consultations on the plan begin and an exhibition goes on display.
  • 2005: The first planning application is submitted to East Sussex County Council.
  • 2006: The issue goes to a public inquiry
  • 2007: The Government throws out the planning application but crucially acknowledges the need for the facility and makes recommendations to Southern Water to improve the scheme.
  • 2007: The firm lodges a second planning application with improved landscaping of the site.
  • 2008: Scheme granted by East Sussex County Council.
  • What next

  • 2008-09: Hazel Blears is expected to start looking at the decision in the next month but she may not make a decision until early next year.
  • 2009: Ms Blears is expected to approve the plan and work could then start soon after but the plant will take up to four years to build.
  • 2012-13: A daily deluge of 95 million litres of sewage due to begin being pumped from Brighton to Peacehaven.

Click here to watch archive footage of the meeting

Don't miss your chance to quiz Damon Elliott, project director for Southern Water, in tomorrow's Friday Inquisition

Comments (19)

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11:06am Thu 7 Aug 08

rhinofish says...

It's about time the sewage was treated instead of being dumped raw into the sea. the plant has to go somewhere, why not Peacehaven? No doubt Peacehaven's waste will be treated there too.

"Residents remain convinced the works will look ugly, cause smells and add to horrendous traffic jams on the A259."

So how is it going to cause traffic jams? What a load of moaning NIMBYS.
It's about time the sewage was treated instead of being dumped raw into the sea. the plant has to go somewhere, why not Peacehaven? No doubt Peacehaven's waste will be treated there too. "Residents remain convinced the works will look ugly, cause smells and add to horrendous traffic jams on the A259." So how is it going to cause traffic jams? What a load of moaning NIMBYS. rhinofish
  • Score: 0

11:12am Thu 7 Aug 08

bamboo says...

Sorry Poohaven it has to go somewhere. I for one am looking forward to the cleaner seas.

Sorry Poohaven it has to go somewhere. I for one am looking forward to the cleaner seas. bamboo
  • Score: 0

12:09pm Thu 7 Aug 08

Ronald says...

Anyone who goes fishing off our coasts will testify to the vile things seen floating about. Time we did as other civilised countries do and use the treated effluent as fertiliser instead of the expensive, horrible chemical concoctions that poison the land. Always said Brighton was full of cr@p!
Anyone who goes fishing off our coasts will testify to the vile things seen floating about. Time we did as other civilised countries do and use the treated effluent as fertiliser instead of the expensive, horrible chemical concoctions that poison the land. Always said Brighton was full of cr@p! Ronald
  • Score: 0

1:02pm Thu 7 Aug 08

Scorpion says...

Ah yes...the NIMBY argument. I don't see anyone in HOVE volunteering that it should have gone there. Since nobody has volunteered (what? you are all NIMBY's ?) then you have to look at the technical merits.

...which, in this case is having to pump stuff up hill for 6 miles... and dig through chalk to do it. Wonderful engineering. Hugely expensive. And utter madness. No doubt higher bills to pay for it.

This is why this is the wrong answer. But hey, as we've seen with the Newhaven Incinerator, technical merits and finding the 21st century (or even 20th century) solution isnt on ESCC or BHCC's agenda. Whats easy - we've got the old (tried and tested in their words) idea and less people will protest in Peacehaven and Newhaven than anywhere else.

If brains were dynamite they couldn't blow their hats off.
Ah yes...the NIMBY argument. I don't see anyone in HOVE volunteering that it should have gone there. Since nobody has volunteered (what? you are all NIMBY's ?) then you have to look at the technical merits. ...which, in this case is having to pump stuff up hill for 6 miles... and dig through chalk to do it. Wonderful engineering. Hugely expensive. And utter madness. No doubt higher bills to pay for it. This is why this is the wrong answer. But hey, as we've seen with the Newhaven Incinerator, technical merits and finding the 21st century (or even 20th century) solution isnt on ESCC or BHCC's agenda. Whats easy - we've got the old (tried and tested in their words) idea and less people will protest in Peacehaven and Newhaven than anywhere else. If brains were dynamite they couldn't blow their hats off. Scorpion
  • Score: 0

1:32pm Thu 7 Aug 08

Ldofvale says...

I have to admit that i am not technically minded, but reading the points raised by others about digging pipes under houses for miles etc seems to indicate that the nearer this plant is to the sea surely that has to be better and less expensive.
With that in mind, can Southern water please explain their thinking and tell us exactly why Shoreham harbour which is already an industrial site wasn't chosen?
I have to admit that i am not technically minded, but reading the points raised by others about digging pipes under houses for miles etc seems to indicate that the nearer this plant is to the sea surely that has to be better and less expensive. With that in mind, can Southern water please explain their thinking and tell us exactly why Shoreham harbour which is already an industrial site wasn't chosen? Ldofvale
  • Score: 0

1:54pm Thu 7 Aug 08

Palace of Wisdom says...

Southern Water having a clue about stuff would help - the dozy sods don't even know that half the flats in brighton exist and thousands of people are being let off of hundreds of pounds because - get this - we've got no-where to put the money!!!! To quote Homer 'D'Oh!'
Southern Water having a clue about stuff would help - the dozy sods don't even know that half the flats in brighton exist and thousands of people are being let off of hundreds of pounds because - get this - we've got no-where to put the money!!!! To quote Homer 'D'Oh!' Palace of Wisdom
  • Score: 0

1:59pm Thu 7 Aug 08

andygunner says...

poohaven is the perfect choice. I drove through there recently... the place is pretty poo... it deserves it. Hove and brighton look nice, and we want to keep it that way. nowhere else have a i seen a carvery proud to offer its serivces for £3.95...
poohaven is the perfect choice. I drove through there recently... the place is pretty poo... it deserves it. Hove and brighton look nice, and we want to keep it that way. nowhere else have a i seen a carvery proud to offer its serivces for £3.95... andygunner
  • Score: 0

2:02pm Thu 7 Aug 08

andygunner says...

in addition - the photo says it all, a bunch of pensioners with nothing else to do as the garden centre was closed, and they all appear to be smiling
in addition - the photo says it all, a bunch of pensioners with nothing else to do as the garden centre was closed, and they all appear to be smiling andygunner
  • Score: 0

2:08pm Thu 7 Aug 08

panda_electrical says...

rhinofish wrote:
It's about time the sewage was treated instead of being dumped raw into the sea. the plant has to go somewhere, why not Peacehaven? No doubt Peacehaven's waste will be treated there too."Residents remain convinced the works will look ugly, cause smells and add to horrendous traffic jams on the A259."So how is it going to cause traffic jams? What a load of moaning NIMBYS.
I agree the sewage needs treating, I agree this thing needs to go somewhere but the proposed site is only 2 miles from the Newhaven incinerator, are you really suggesting that locating 2 major waste facilities largely for the benefit of Brighton & Hove in a small coastal town is reasonable?
Visually this will be an eyesore, if it has to be Peacehaven Southern Water should at least be required to make this an underground works ala the Sovereign Harbour treatment plant.
The additional traffic will be caused by the HGVs transporting the pellets created at this plant away for sale by Southern Water. This traffic will be on residential streets and the recently down-graded A259. Again if it has to be Peacehaven then Southern Water should contribute say 1% of the cost (£3M) to improve the local roads and build a new access to the town. Not the use of a sports field for residents to while away their time as the only access road is to congested for them to carry on their business.
[quote][bold]rhinofish[/bold] wrote: It's about time the sewage was treated instead of being dumped raw into the sea. the plant has to go somewhere, why not Peacehaven? No doubt Peacehaven's waste will be treated there too."Residents remain convinced the works will look ugly, cause smells and add to horrendous traffic jams on the A259."So how is it going to cause traffic jams? What a load of moaning NIMBYS.[/quote]I agree the sewage needs treating, I agree this thing needs to go somewhere but the proposed site is only 2 miles from the Newhaven incinerator, are you really suggesting that locating 2 major waste facilities largely for the benefit of Brighton & Hove in a small coastal town is reasonable? Visually this will be an eyesore, if it has to be Peacehaven Southern Water should at least be required to make this an underground works ala the Sovereign Harbour treatment plant. The additional traffic will be caused by the HGVs transporting the pellets created at this plant away for sale by Southern Water. This traffic will be on residential streets and the recently down-graded A259. Again if it has to be Peacehaven then Southern Water should contribute say 1% of the cost (£3M) to improve the local roads and build a new access to the town. Not the use of a sports field for residents to while away their time as the only access road is to congested for them to carry on their business. panda_electrical
  • Score: 0

3:32pm Thu 7 Aug 08

81972a says...

It has to go somewhere, although i agree with the idea that SHoreham may have beena better site as it already has the infrastructure for the lorries etc. ALso the reduce distance is surely better as it will require less travelling for the waste.

I for one am mainly glad that at least the stuff is being treated and therefore we are improving the seas around us.
It has to go somewhere, although i agree with the idea that SHoreham may have beena better site as it already has the infrastructure for the lorries etc. ALso the reduce distance is surely better as it will require less travelling for the waste. I for one am mainly glad that at least the stuff is being treated and therefore we are improving the seas around us. 81972a
  • Score: 0

4:13pm Thu 7 Aug 08

TrueBlue says...

Hove Lawns would have been a perfect site, it's full of poo already and it involves far less pipework than having to pump sewage to Peacehaven.
In time the residents of Hove would never know it was there, they can disguise buildings so well these days they blend in to the surroundings, and local residents certainly wouldn't be able to smell it as it's odourless we're informed.

Brilliant, I don't know why someone hasn't thought of this before.
Hove Lawns would have been a perfect site, it's full of poo already and it involves far less pipework than having to pump sewage to Peacehaven. In time the residents of Hove would never know it was there, they can disguise buildings so well these days they blend in to the surroundings, and local residents certainly wouldn't be able to smell it as it's odourless we're informed. Brilliant, I don't know why someone hasn't thought of this before. TrueBlue
  • Score: 0

4:39pm Thu 7 Aug 08

proteus2000 says...

I am disgusted that this has been approved...there are other brownfield sites where this plant could have been placed. Southern water will be ruining a place of outstanding natural beauty puerly for the fact that it is the cheapest option. Southern water make enough money from us to choose a better site for all and what for the Peacehaven residents? plummeting house prices? its ok for those in Brighton and Hove, most live in rented accomodation & do not own thier own homes! We have worked hard for all we have with little or no help form our government.I find it appalling that this government can approve these plans.....will they subsidise me when my house doesnt sell?
I am disgusted that this has been approved...there are other brownfield sites where this plant could have been placed. Southern water will be ruining a place of outstanding natural beauty puerly for the fact that it is the cheapest option. Southern water make enough money from us to choose a better site for all and what for the Peacehaven residents? plummeting house prices? its ok for those in Brighton and Hove, most live in rented accomodation & do not own thier own homes! We have worked hard for all we have with little or no help form our government.I find it appalling that this government can approve these plans.....will they subsidise me when my house doesnt sell? proteus2000
  • Score: 0

6:03pm Thu 7 Aug 08

Scorpion says...

Cllr Godfrey Daniel can always be relied upon for some incisive comment. "people soon forget about it" he reckons. Presumably why he voted for the incinerator to go in Newhaven ...couldn't possibly be because it might have ended up in Pebsham... on his doorstep.

Of course his other great comment was that it could become a tourist attraction. Maybe the same applies to the Sewage plant then. Perhaps we can get special rates - visit one see the other for free. Perhaps Cllr Daniel will be the first to visit. The only question left will be whether he gets a WARM welcome or if he will be up to his neck in the sh..sh..fertalizer.
Cllr Godfrey Daniel can always be relied upon for some incisive comment. "people soon forget about it" he reckons. Presumably why he voted for the incinerator to go in Newhaven ...couldn't possibly be because it might have ended up in Pebsham... on his doorstep. Of course his other great comment was that it could become a tourist attraction. Maybe the same applies to the Sewage plant then. Perhaps we can get special rates - visit one see the other for free. Perhaps Cllr Daniel will be the first to visit. The only question left will be whether he gets a WARM welcome or if he will be up to his neck in the sh..sh..fertalizer. Scorpion
  • Score: 0

7:49pm Thu 7 Aug 08

rhodeatlas says...

If you look at the photo, there is no one under the age of 70. What does this tell you? It tells me that the younger generation nose (pung)it has to go somewhere and it will benefit everyone.
If you look at the photo, there is no one under the age of 70. What does this tell you? It tells me that the younger generation nose (pung)it has to go somewhere and it will benefit everyone. rhodeatlas
  • Score: 0

8:00pm Thu 7 Aug 08

getreal says...

Quite so Andygunner - Brighton and Hove derives valuable income from tourism which Peacehaven does not. Makes perfect sense for the plant to be east of Brighton and Hove away from the tourists.
Quite so Andygunner - Brighton and Hove derives valuable income from tourism which Peacehaven does not. Makes perfect sense for the plant to be east of Brighton and Hove away from the tourists. getreal
  • Score: 0

8:05pm Thu 7 Aug 08

Ronald says...

Love it Proteus. Brownfield site eh! Very good!
Love it Proteus. Brownfield site eh! Very good! Ronald
  • Score: 0

8:13pm Thu 7 Aug 08

Alex S says...

This isn't a case of NIMBY - tunnels are being dug under houses with 'trains' running 24/7 through them. These houses are only being insured for 2 years for problems caused by the tunneling. The same happened in Hastings but the person from there who was meant to brief the meeting omitted to mention that houses there had to be pulled down. Oh, and how is the already congested A259 (South Coast Road) meant to cope with all the lorries used for the sewage works, plus the two new housing estates built near there? That's why everyone's protesting, not for pretty fields but to stop their houses falling into tunnels - built near cliffs...

Shoreham Harbour would have been a far more sensible option.
This isn't a case of NIMBY - tunnels are being dug under houses with 'trains' running 24/7 through them. These houses are only being insured for 2 years for problems caused by the tunneling. The same happened in Hastings but the person from there who was meant to brief the meeting omitted to mention that houses there had to be pulled down. Oh, and how is the already congested A259 (South Coast Road) meant to cope with all the lorries used for the sewage works, plus the two new housing estates built near there? That's why everyone's protesting, not for pretty fields but to stop their houses falling into tunnels - built near cliffs... Shoreham Harbour would have been a far more sensible option. Alex S
  • Score: 0

8:34pm Thu 7 Aug 08

dodgy says...

Although I can't think of much I like about poo haven,I must point out the fact that when it comes to housing,Peacehaven comes under Lewis.So basically Brighton Council will not recognise anyone from Peacehaven as "local",Although they seem more than prepared to send Brighton s**t there.Traditionally though, Brighton usually sends its s**t to Eastbourne.
Although I can't think of much I like about poo haven,I must point out the fact that when it comes to housing,Peacehaven comes under Lewis.So basically Brighton Council will not recognise anyone from Peacehaven as "local",Although they seem more than prepared to send Brighton s**t there.Traditionally though, Brighton usually sends its s**t to Eastbourne. dodgy
  • Score: 0

9:29pm Thu 7 Aug 08

Bob dainty says...

AndyGunner Pensioners maybe many of which may not be around when this plant is completed but we do care for the enviroment which the younger generation will inherit. Take the P*** if you wish but we old uns will fight to stop Southern Water from bringing it.
AndyGunner Pensioners maybe many of which may not be around when this plant is completed but we do care for the enviroment which the younger generation will inherit. Take the P*** if you wish but we old uns will fight to stop Southern Water from bringing it. Bob dainty
  • Score: 0
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