Water outage will have huge impact, says councillor

A water outage affecting 31,000 East Sussex properties will have a “huge” impact on businesses already struggling with the cost of living, a county councillor has said.

Work to remove and replace a broken pipe has continued overnight, as thousands remain without water.

A burst pipe in isolated woodland has impacted supplies since Thursday but Southern Water apologised and said it hoped supplies would return by Sunday.

East Sussex County Council’s Godfrey Daniel said the water company’s reputation “couldn’t be much lower” and called for doorstep deliveries of bottled water.

‘Just want it to end’

The Labour councillor said one hotel in Hastings had resorted to flushing toilets with sea water.

“They should put bottles of water outside everybody’s door, we pay enough water rates,” he said.

“The state of our country, where you can’t turn on the tap and expect to see water.”

Mr Daniel said people who do not drive were asking how to get to bottled water stations.

“I’m elderly myself, I couldn’t carry the big bottles,” he said.

He called on Southern Water to acknowledge the issue in people’s water bills.

“The impact on the town will be drastic, a lot of people will lose a lot of money,” he said. “These businesses are struggling as it is with the cost of living crisis.”

Southern Water said good progress was being made on replacing a burst pipe

Southern Water said disruption was expected to continue over the weekend and apologised to customers in St Leonards, Hastings and rural areas around Westfield.

Stuart Ledger, the company’s chief financial officer, told BBC Radio Sussex a replaced pipe was now feeding water back to the treatment works.

He said work was being done to get water to 6,000 people on a priority service register.

Lesley Arshad, who is disabled, said she had been left off the company’s priority list, despite receiving a letter confirming she was on it last year.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that when she rang to ask for water, she was told she would get some but “not sure when”.

Southern Water said it had been in touch with Ms Arshad and would be delivering water to her on Saturday.

Queues formed outside a bottled water station at a supermarket on Friday

Bottled water stations at Tesco, Asda and Sea Road reopened on Saturday and a fourth water station opened at Hastings Academy.

Customers were advised to be aware of traffic when travelling to the water stations.

Hastings resident Jon Smalldon, 46, said his family had 24 two-litre bottles of water which they were having to ration.

He said there was frustration across the town and this was “not the first time Southern Water has caused problems for Hastings”.

He said: “We all just want it to end.”

The burst pipe in Keeper’s Wood, near the A21, needed to be removed and replaced.

The bank holiday weekend outage will impact events such as the annual four-day Jack in the Green Festival and the May Day Bike Run.

Mr Daniel said the events see an estimated 40,000 visitors flock to the area.

“This weekend is one of the biggest, usually we get 25,000 bikers coming on the same day as the Jack in the Green celebration.

“It’s always the busiest day for the hotels, pubs, the restaurants, this will have a huge impact.”

Hastings Borough Council said it was working with Southern Water and other agencies to help manage the situation and to ensure vulnerable people were looked after.

The organisers of the Jack in the Green event said they hoped most events could “carry on as planned”.

Refunds for a cancelled ceilidh event would be sent out via the White Rock Theatre, organisers said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *