Travellers’ site illegal water supply ripped out

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An illegal pipeline installed at a travellers’ site to access water has been removed by Anglian Water following complaints.

The illicit connection at Greenacres travellers’ site in Little Billington was tapping into a private water mains – allowing the site free access to water.

Anglian Water has now sealed the pipeline and created a new pipe system in Little Billington.

A company spokesman said: “Anglian Water took the decision to lay a new water pipe which we will own and maintain in order to supply clean, safe and reliable drinking water to our existing customers in Little Billington, as well as the traveller site.

“The previous unofficial pipe connection had been causing significantly reduced pressure to customers living near the traveller sites.”

Retrospective planning permission for Greenacres was granted on appeal by the Planning Inspectorate in 2012. This was against the wishes of Central Bedfordshire Council, who had already refused permission.

A CBC spokesman said: “The Planning Inspectorate did not put any conditions on the provision of these services so we have inherited a situation that, in planning terms, we cannot control in the normal way. The land is privately owned and two other agencies are responsible for provision of safe water and regulation of pollution.”

As Greenacres had no legal water supply, Anglian Water was responsible for providing this.

The firm obtained a warrant against the farmer who owns the land in order to lay down the new pipe system. Nevertheless, Anglian Water engineers still opted to leave their tools in the farmer’s barn at the end of work each evening.

The company spokesman added: “Both traveller sites [Greenacres and Toddbury Farm] are now connected to a metered supply of mains water and we’ll collect payment in line with our normal billing process.

“As the unofficial pipe was originally connected to a private main, not owned or maintained by Anglian Water, we are unable to take legal action in the same way that we would had an illegal connection been made to one of our drinking water pipes. Our solution ensures safe, clean drinking water for all our customers, which is our priority.”