Pub clo­sure anger as sewage blocks pipes

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Stanhope Fire - By Tim Collins

tcollins@thek­m­ A land­lord whose busi­ness was closed for three weeks be­cause of blocked pipes is call­ing for an­swers from a “night­mare” wa­ter com­pany

Tom Dixon took over the Tick­led Trout in Wye about four months ago, and also owns the Ge­orge Ho­tel in Ash­ford High Street and The Al­bion in New­town.

Mr Dixon, 40, says the pub closed on New Year’s Day be­cause the toi­lets had been blocked up with sewage since Box­ing Day. It fi­nally re­opened on Tues­day.

He said: “It’s been an ab­so­lute dis­as­ter. All the staff have been sat at home wait­ing, with­out any in­come, and my cash flow has com­pletely run out.

“The toi­lets were backed right up with sewage and we can’t ex­pect our cus­tomers to put up with that.

“I’m hav­ing to de­fer on pay­ments to my sup­pli­ers, as I’ve lost pretty much a month’s in­come. We’re talk­ing tens of thou­sands of pounds.”

Mr Dixon claims that a nearby sewage pump, owned by South­ern Wa­ter, is re­spon­si­ble for the un­hy­gienic con­di­tions at the premises.

But he says that the com­pany’s han­dling of the sit­u­a­tion stinks al­most as much as the clogged up loos.

He added: “South­ern Wa­ter has been a com­plete night­mare. It’s been a cat­a­logue of in­con­sis­tent sto­ries.

“I’ve had seven or eight peo­ple come out from the com­pany, and they’ve all told me some­thing dif­fer­ent.

“Some have ad­mit­ted that there’s been a prob­lem, but oth­ers have told me that the pump­ing sta­tion is work­ing prop­erly. Ev­ery­one seems to have a dif­fer­ent story.

“But we’ve had engi­neers out who say there’s def­i­nitely a prob­lem.”

A spokesman for South­ern Wa­ter said: “This sit­u­a­tion has been ex­ac­er­bated by the in­ces­sant rain over re­cent weeks which has led to ex­tremely high ground­wa­ter lev­els.

“When the wa­ter ta­ble rises ex­ces­sively, it can in­fil­trate the sew­ers, lift­ing man­hole cov­ers and back­ing up toi­lets.

“We have made some ad­just­ments at our near­est pump­ing sta­tion which should help re­duce the risk.

“How­ever, the pub oc­cu­pies a low spot in the catch­ment so wa­ter nat­u­rally grav­i­tates to­wards it, mak­ing the sit­u­a­tion chal­leng­ing.”

What do you think? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford, TN24 8JR or email ken­tish­ex­press@ thek­m­

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