Public Meeting with Thames Water Notes
Buckland Parish Council
A public meeting was held with Thames Water on Tuesday 5th December 2023 to discuss the proposed Water Booster Station by Hope Cottages in Buckland.
Cllr Nigel Hayward welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Thames Water representatives were invited to present information relating to the proposed Water Booster Station.
The Environment Agency has stopped Thames Water’s licence to abstract water at Hawridge due to its adverse effect on the river Chess. The only available abstraction resource is in the Slough area, and additional network infrastructure is needed to transfer sufficient water from there to offset the loss at Hawridge. Locally the new pipework will come from Kimblewick, across HS2, through the major development area at Hampden Fields and then via Buckland to Dancers End. A new booster station will be required to pump the water to Dancers End. Demand for water has increased due to new development in the Aylesbury and Aston Clinton area.
Based on Thames Waters’ current plans, applications for planning approval will be submitted in Spring 2024, construction will begin in 2025/26 with project competition in 2029. Thames Water stated that they have had three rounds of pre-application discussions with Buckinghamshire Council, that Buckinghamshire Council proposed the site in Buckland Road and requested that the pumping station is in keeping with the local area. This will be an unmanned facility.
Thames Water confirmed the facility will be 5m from the hedgerow abutting Hope Cottages. There will be a 3m high mesh fence in line with DEFRA security requirements. There will also be an emergency generator in a noise attenuated kiosk and a control room. The building will have wood cladding and will be 6m high to ridge, the same height as Hope Cottages. There would be external lighting that would be sensor based. The associated pipes would be 0.5m wide and buried 1.5m below ground.
Thames Water explained that they had been advised by Buckinghamshire Council planning officers that the booster station could only be located on the proposed site for ‘archaeological reasons’. They confirmed that there was a 250m wide swathe for the location of pipeworks and that Buckinghamshire planning officers had decided the pipeline route.
Members of the public were invited to comment and ask questions. There was an overwhelming resistance to the plans. The reasons for these were many including: location next to Victorian cottages, interference with a well used public footpath, poor access to the site from a minor road with no footway and next to a row of cottages which have no on-site parking available; the booster station will be situated on the south side of the cottages blocking light into the cottages and gardens, resulting in a negative impact on the amenity and wellbeing of residents, due to smells, lighting, and access to the plant. Members of the public were in agreement that the most suitable location for a water booster station, if one has to be built in Buckland, would be next to the A41 bypass where the road passes in cutting under the Lower Icknield Way. Thames Water replied that although this would be possible theoretically, this area cannot be used for ‘archaeological’ reasons (although the proposed route of the pipeline passes next to a Scheduled Ancient Monument – the Moat – and through a conservation area, affecting listed buildings).
If the new pipeline is passing through the Hampden Fields development of 3,000 new homes and commercial development, why could the new booster station not be incorporated on this site, instead of at Buckland? Would residents receive compensation from Thames Water? Thames Water were unable to answer these two questions.
Cllr Mike Collins explained that a future planning application would be determined by Buckinghamshire Council’s planning committee, when the public will be able to comment. He will speak to the planning officer dealing with the preapplication advice to Thames Water in order to discover the rationale behind the advice given. This information will be passed to Buckland Parish Council at its January meeting.
Buckland Parish Council asked for the Thames Water presentation to be sent to them so that it can be shared with the residents and also displayed on the Parish Council website.
Jane Lewis, Clerk to Buckland Parish Council
- 01296 630962
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Buckland Village Hall, New Road, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP22 5JB