Sewage floods housing site in Nairn amid opposition to new planning development


Morton Gillespie, a resident of Kingsteps, at the site of the sewage flooding Photo Gary Anthony.

An open space on a new housing site sold by Nairn advisor Liz McDonald to Springfield developers has been inundated with sewage.

Morton Gillespie (74) a retired Lochloy Road project manager woke up Wednesday morning to find sewage encroaching on his garden from a large amenity area at the end of a cul-de-sac in Averon Street which was submerged by sewage.

The site has been the subject of objections from the Nairn River Community Council and neighbors who have warned of the risk of flooding.

But the planning request was approved by the casting vote of the southern planning zone committee chair, Jimmy Gray.

Opponents feared that the infrastructure was insufficient, that drainage problems were possible and that the 113 houses were in addition to existing traffic problems on Lochloy Road and its access to the A96.

Mr Gillespie said: “I understand that a sewer pump failed and water was flowing back from the amenity space into my garden which is on low ground.

“The workers came to clear the blockage. But how long will it take before it happens again. We didn’t even have particularly heavy rain overnight. The smell was awful.

“We warned them that this would happen and that they would not listen. We raised the issue of the sewage pumping system and they assured us that it would not fail. So much for those assurances. Told us that there would be alarm systems in place if it failed, so what happened, were those alarms installed?

“The request was contested by Laurie Fraser and seconded by Tom Heggie and was passed with the casting vote of President Jimmy Gray.

“It has been said that there is a need for more social housing. Most of the properties are of course private. Social housing is hidden from access to local bus lines and there is absolutely no service. at Springfield’s Lochloy development where 1,000 homes were built.

“I would be interested to know what impact this had on the waiting list for social housing at the town hall. People without a car are far from schools and shops.

Mr Gillespie sent an email to the four local councilors informing them of the flooding incident which encroached on the gardens of the houses on Lochloy Road.

“It is a real shame that the planning committee did not accept the concerns of the residents of Nairn and allow this development to continue.

“The lesson for the future is to listen to the people of Nairn rather than to specialists from a distance.”

Mr Gillespie said: “I certainly hope they clear up this mess.”

A Springfield Properties spokesperson said, “We have been made aware of a spill that affected the backyard of a private house, adjacent to our Meadowlea development.

“The mess was cleaned up immediately, and we apologized to the impacted resident.

“The pumping station is now functioning well, but we will continue to monitor it closely and further investigate the reasons for the system failure so that we can make sure it does not happen again. “

Nairn River CC Hamish Bain said in his submission to the planning request that they stated that the roads, sewers and water infrastructure in Nairn were well beyond their capacity and in need of urgent investment and that new pipes at Kingsteps would supply the old sewer system which was already not functioning. Water pressure was also an issue in the Lochloy area.

Mr Bain added: “It is appalling that residents of this area have to suffer that Highland Council and Springfield ignore local knowledge, but this is nothing new. We told you.”

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