Kenton homes plan ‘like living near an open sewer’

Flooding at Wealdstone Brook

Flooding at Wealdstone Brook - Credit: John Poole

Residents in a North West London neighbourhood criticised plans for a new housing development near a polluted river, which they said will be like living near “an open sewer”.

Brent Council’s planning committee on Wednesday night approved plans for eight homes on the site of a row of garages in Kenton’s Lidding Road. 

This was despite concerns that the nearby Wealdstone Brook could flood the area with sewage. The brook has regularly been polluted, with locals urging the council, as well as Thames Water and the Environment Agency, to clean it up for good. 

Residents claimed that the Victorian-era sewage pipes regularly become blocked or collapse, causing foul-smelling water to run off into parks and roads. They also say the area frequently suffers from flooding during stormy weather and suggested this development will only add to the problem.

A letter of objection, submitted by the Friends of Woodcock Park, where the brook runs, said: “This area is also plagued by rats which run along the brook and there is often a foul smell of sewage. Who would want to live near an open sewer, liable to flood, where you are unable to open your windows?”

John Poole, speaking on behalf of residents, said the levels of pollution in the water mean all proposed developments should be postponed until it is cleaned up. 

Thames Water, which has responsibility for the area’s sewage system, said it would have the capacity to deal with any extra pressures brought on by the new development. 

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Regarding the brook’s pollution, a spokesperson for the company said: “We’ve met with the environmental health team at Brent Council and the local residents association to look at next steps for rectifying the situation and we’re currently arranging a thorough clean of the watercourse. 

“As part of our investigation into this pollution we’ve been carrying out sewer cleaning in Brookfield Crescent over the last couple of weeks, which has now been completed and we’ll continue to work with local councils and residents on tackling misconnected businesses and properties in the area.”

The council’s planning committee deferred the application last year due to outstanding issues around the potential impact of flooding in the area. At last week’s meeting, four councillors voted in favour of the plans, three abstained due to concerns about the possible flooding and one voted against as he said he had “no confidence” that the situation would be managed properly.