Village residents plagued by sewage problems say they have been offered a portable toilet on their street by Southern Water.
Those living in Cripplegate Lane, Southwater, have endured years of raw sewage overflowing into their homes and gardens - in some cases bubbling up from toilets.
Campaigners say the situation is ‘shocking’ and demonstrates the lack of infrastructure for future development as plans for 634 new homes loom over the village.
Dr Ian Thwaites, of Keep Southwater Green, told the County Times: “The problem has a history of 20 years or more.
“Manholes have been forced open by an enormous pressure of waste and water.
“It has steadily worsened as more and more housing has been allowed within the village.”
Dr Thwaites said Southern Water had hosted a number of public meetings to talk to concerned locals.
At a meeting on Thursday April 17 officials told those living in Cripplegate Lane a portable toilet could be installed in the street, continued Dr Thwaites.
He said: “The story of what has happened is shocking; but perhaps even more shocking is the response of Southern Water. Southern Water will have received, or will very shortly receive, a formal notification from Horsham District Council to the effect that an outline planning application for in excess of 640 houses on land to the west of Worthing Road – land that will require mains sewerage and will drain, with the rest of the village’s sewerage, down towards Cripplegate Lane.
“It seems beyond dispute that at the present time the sewage system of the village cannot possibly, reasonably or sensibly be expected to bear this additional load.”
Property owner Ron Russell said he reacted with ‘absolute amazement’ when offered a portable toilet.
“There’s no way I’m asking my elderly tenant to use a chemical toilet,” said the 71-year-old. “Here we are in this country - with the fifth or sixth largest economy in the world - and we’re talking about a series of bungalows blighted by a sewage problem.”
Southern Water said it is carrying out further tests on the sewerage network in Southwater to determine the root cause of the flooding issues there. Flow monitors will be installed inside the sewers to see whether groundwater is entering the pipes and overloading them.
A spokesperson said: “Over the recent wet winter, we used tankers to reduce the affect of flooding in the village and we have attended several public meetings in Southwater to discuss the issue openly.”
The company spokesperson said they had no information on whether or not portable toilets were offered.