Evidence emerges environmental health officer raised concerns over sewers at
A council officer flagged up concerns about the state of the sewers at the controversial Lathro Meadows development in Kinross at the same time PKC was considering Persimmon Homes’ application to add over 150 more houses to the scheme.
Emails seen by the PA show the officer raised concerns that pipework underneath the development might not be “fit for purpose”.
However, the council has said it did not have the power to prevent people moving into the homes.
One email seen by the PA shows the officer said she had “no confidence” in the system just months after managers failed to mention any concerns about it in their response to the application despite repeated complaints about blockages and odours from residents.
PKC planning staff recommended the application be approved by councillors last year after writing a report saying investigations had found “no insurmountable issues” with the scheme’s foul drainage.
Councillors voted to refuse the application but Persimmon then appealed to the Scottish Government, which announced earlier this year it is minded to grant consent for more houses to be built at Lathro Meadows.
However, it has now emerged a PKC environmental health officer told Scottish Water on October 23, 2019, she had read reports suggesting Persimmon or its contractors had used “substandard” materials to construct the scheme’s main sewerage pipe.
She went on: “I am now seeking legal advice but it would appear that the sewerage is not fit for purpose and would need to be completely replaced.
“That means potentially 50 [plus] properties do not have adequate sewerage provisions.”
She added: “From a public health remit I want to prevent further properties being allowed to be occupied as I do not believe the system … can cope with any increase in capacity.”
The same officer said in another email sent to Scottish Water six days later: “Due to the surface drainage not being fit for purpose, I have no confidence in the foul drainage or even the drinking water pipes at this point.”
The officer added in another email sent to Scottish Water later the same day: “I have asked the question if there is a mechanism in place [whereby] a statutory body can prevent the occupation of more properties … until the drainage issues have been completely and satisfactorily rectified.”
She added: “More burden on an already failing system is far from ideal.”
Asked this week if it could have acted to stop people moving into the scheme amid the concern over its sewers, a council spokesperson said: “The council has no power to prevent occupation of homes as the drainage issues are outwith the curtilage of the properties.”
The council also said in a statement released earlier this week: “PKC understands the frustrations felt by residents regarding problems with the sewage infrastructure.
“Our planning role is to consider the principle of foul drainage and it is the developer’s responsibility to design and construct the necessary site infrastructure.
“Given the acknowledged problems with that infrastructure, it is their responsibility to remediate and maintain the sewerage system until adopted by Scottish Water.
“The council has not been part of any detailed discussions that may have taken place between Persimmon and Scottish Water over the infrastructure and any required remediation leading to adoption.
“Planning and building standards staff do not have a role in enforcing the standards of other agencies.
“The council takes all concerns relating to public nuisance or health issues seriously.