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Plan for Guildford’s New Sewage Works Goes to County Council for Approval

Published on: 14 Feb, 2022
Updated on: 14 Feb, 2022

By Hugh Coakley

Thames Water have submitted a planning application to Surrey County Council (SCC) for the new sewage treatment works for Guildford. Unlike most other planning applications, which are decided at borough or district level, those related to waste are decided by the county council.

Located on a 15 hectare site at Slyfield to the north of the existing town sewage works, construction on the new works is planned to start this year with commissioning in 2026.

Thames Water’s current sewage treatment works at Slyfield, Guildford.

Once the new sewage works are ready to operate, the old sewage works can be demolished and work can start to develop the vacated site as part of the up to 1,550 new dwellings on the GBC flagship project, the Weyside Urban Village.

Guildford Borough Council (GBC) are funding the relocation in exchange for the land the existing sewage works is situated on to enable the WUV homes to be built.

Cllr James Walsh.

Ward councillor James Walsh (Lab, Stoke) said: “After many years of discussion and debate, it is good to see that the plans to move and improve the Thames Water sewage treatment works in our ward may be finally moving forward!

“We’re not quite there yet, but this application is a huge milestone and – if passed – will mean a brilliant outcome for our residents who will benefit from the use of modern technology on the new site and fewer smells.

Slyfield Area Regeneration Project (SARP) includes the new Thames Water sewage treatment works.

“It will also be an enormous step forward for the Weyside Urban Village development too, as the relocation will free up a key part of the site, but Cllr Gunning and I are keen that disruption to residents is kept to an absolute minimum if and when these works begin.”

Thames Water’s capital delivery director Francis Paonessa said: “This will be the first new works to be built by Thames Water since Reading Sewage Treatment Works opened more than 15 years ago and shows our commitment to continuously improve the service we offer our customers.”

Thames Water was heavily criticised for discharging untreated sewage into the River Wey at Slyfield in 2020 on 27 occasions lasting 346 hours.

Data from The Rivers Trust showing numbers of sewage storm discharges from the Thames Water outfall at the Guildford sewage treatment works (STW) in 2020.

The new sewage treatment works forms part of the plan for the Slyfield Area Regeneration Project (SARP). It consists of the Weyside Urban Village, the new recycling centre and waste transfer station (planning application yet to be submitted) and the 45.9 hectares of land at Burpham Court Farm for a Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG).

The Weyside Urban Village was approved in October 2021 subject to objections from National Highways and Surrey County Council being resolved. The Burpham Court Farm SANG was approved at the same planning meeting.

The contentious issue of taking the plots on Bellfields allotments was finally decided by Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up Housing & Communities, when he decided to approve GBC’s plan for the allotment saying he was satisfied that “adequate provision will be made for allotment holders displaced by the action of the local authority”. The decision was dated February 11 2022.

See New Sewage Treatment Works Plans Revealed For Public Consultation(May 2021) and Thames Water Choses Firms To Relocate Sewage Works (August 2021).

The Secretary of State has finally approved GBC’s proposal to take the majoprity of plots on Bellfields allotments, next to the existing Thames Water sewage work.

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test 3 Responses to Plan for Guildford’s New Sewage Works Goes to County Council for Approval

  1. Michael Hard Reply

    February 15, 2022 at 3:59 pm

    How much is the going rate for a new sewage treatment works these days? I bet Thames Water are rubbing their hands at being handed a blank cheque from GBC. I wonder how they funded the last one they built 15 years a go in Reading? I am sure the share holders will benefit and not the customers.

  2. Ben Paton Reply

    February 16, 2022 at 9:52 am

    The scale of the release of raw sewage into the River Wey is astonishing.

    347 hours is equivalent to releasing sewage into the river continuously during working hours for ten weeks or for two-and-a-half months!

    These releases are obviously not happening solely because of exceptional weather.

  3. Donna Collinson Reply

    March 7, 2022 at 1:45 pm

    These releases are happening in the river right opposite a row of over 30 well maintained and propped veteran and ancient pollarded willows protected by NPPF 175c.

    The willows start at Stoke Lock and run towards Bowers Lock. The Wey Navigation tow path used to run between the Wey and the willows. Since WW2 this has been lost due to bank erosion. The discharges and the overly fast running speed of the river, is exacerbating bank erosion, putting these trees in danger of being lost by falling into the river.

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