About 100 people living in Taw Hill turned out at the end of June to voice their protest about Thames Water’s plans to install two huge underground sewage tanks costing £4.8 million on mature open spaces close to their homes on Queen Elizabeth Drive.
At the southern site, near Taw Hill pumping station and the Tawny Owl pub, some 20 mature trees would be ripped out. To the north a tank is proposed for an open space near Greenwood Grove. The tanks will be the size of 10 double decker buses but only a hatch, control box, lighting tower and vent pipe will be visible.
Thames Water say they need overflow storage capacity to cope with 1 in 30 year rainfall to prevent the Taw Hill pumping station being overwhelmed and sewage backing up.
However they will not be connected to the sewer network. The contents will be pumped into road tankers for transportation to Swindon’s sewage treatment works at Barnfield.
At the protest on Queen Elizabeth Drive, David Parkinson, above, explained to neighbours: “The problem is not provision of extra capacity but the location. Thames Water want to trash a mature green area within a housing area, put in a 6 metre vent pipe close to homes and have tankers using a road unsuitable for HGVs, and pump out sewage at anytime of the day or night.
“There is a viable alternative site at Mouldon Hill.”
Following meetings with representatives, Thames Water have written to North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson to say that they are reviewing plans in light of community feedback and are considering the feasibility of residents’ suggestions that the tank be built away from Taw Hill, in Mouldon Hill Park, to the west of Thamesdown Drive.