‘They’ll have to send children to school in a stink’ – kids stopped from playing outside as Letchworth Sewage Works stench blights Fairfield Park

Fairfield Park Lower School.

Fairfield Park Lower School. - Credit: Archant

The stench from the Letchworth Sewage Works has become so bad that the people of Fairfield Park are having to stay in and stop their children playing outside – and a new primary school is set to be built right next door.

Anglian Water, which runs the site, has acknowledged the issue and installed three deodoriser machines to try to clear things up, but problems have persisted.

And with Fairfield Park Lower School set to expand onto a second site east of Hitchin Road by next September, villagers have noted the lack of progress with concern.

One Fairfield woman told the Comet: “I’ve lived here a long time and there’s always been a slight whiff, but it has got much worse. This doesn’t seem to be taken seriously by Central Beds Council.

“They don’t see it is a problem to build a school and sports facilities next to a sewage works. People are going to have to send their children to school in a stink.

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“The water company seem to be working extremely hard, and the deodorisers have helped slightly, but if the wind blows in the wrong direction it is still really quite bad.”

Fairfield Parish Council has summarised the concerns in an open letter to Central Beds Council’s environmental health officer.

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It said: “It has now become such an issue that residents are frequently having to close windows and doors and stay indoors.

“This has prevented them from enjoying the summer and allowing children to play in the green spaces in and around Fairfield as the smell has been unbearable on several evenings.

“We ask that you investigate the cause of the problem and take the necessary steps to ensure a permanent solution is put in place, thus allowing residents living within Fairfield and the surrounding areas to suffer this no longer.

“We do not want the problem to have an impact on the planned new school and new housing development on the adjacent site to the sewage plant.”

An Anglian Water spokesman told the Comet on Tuesday: “Three odour control units have been installed on site to minimise the smells, and these run almost around the clock. We’ve also arranged for a specialist odour survey to be carried out.

“We are in contact with the council and we will be sending a newsletter to residents shortly. Odours can be affected by weather conditions, but the nature of this site means smells may occur from time to time.”

A Central Beds Council spokesman said: “Our environmental health team is are working with Anglian Water to ensure a satisfactory solution is in place. Residents have been asked to keep a diary of any further problems and to notify the council if problems persist.”

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