£1m Sewerage Grant Could Be Handed Back To Government

town hall windows signA £1m grant to improve sewerage treatment on St Mary’s could get handed back to the government because the Council’s Chief Technical Officer feels it’s not enough to complete the works.

The money was given by Defra to replace the 1930’s rising main from the pumping station, build a screening plant to remove solid waste and construct a new sea outfall pipe at Morning Point.

But Neville Gardner told councillors at Thursday’s General Purposes meeting that even if the Council added money from its sewerage reserves, which currently stand at around £750,000, there still wouldn’t be enough.

He wants to pay for consultants to scope out the work first, before committing to the project.

Mr Gardner’s concerns relate to the cost of excavation work under the Garrison Walls and Parson’s Field.

He said knowing the true cost of the work could allow them to negotiate for more funds, although he admitted that was unlikely in the current economic climate.

The Council have until 2017 to complete the work.

Cllr Marian Bennett said she was concerned about handing back money, especially for work that’s been needed for so long.

She asked whether part of the project could be done, such as putting in a new sea outfall, although the Chief Technical Officer indicated this would not be allowed by the Defra under the terms of the grant.

It was all of the project, or nothing.

Council Chair Amanda Martin said any works on the Garrison are of concern because it’s an extremely important archaeological site.

But she said English Heritage also have huge knowledge of the area which could be used to devise a scheme that had the minimum impact. She wanted Neville to talk to them.

A report will be brought back to the next committee meeting about how to move forward.

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