‘Flood of sewage’ into Robertsbridge hotel field

Tony and Rosemary Robins pictured with their piece of land that is often covered with sewage. SUS-151008-151748001
Tony and Rosemary Robins pictured with their piece of land that is often covered with sewage. SUS-151008-151748001

A couple say they have been living a 15-year nightmare with an exploding manhole polluting their field with condoms and other waste.

Rosemary and Tony Robins say the problems at the site, behind The Ostrich Hotel in Robertsbridge, date back to flooding in 2000.

Ever since then heavy rainfall leads to the manhole cover ‘blowing off’ and waste filling the area. After finding items including condoms in the field the couple took the decision to move their much-loved horses out.

“With our horses, it has caused problems because I have to go down to Polegate to see one of them as he kept going into the infected part of the field,” Mr Robins said.

“So that’s two half days a week just to make sure he’s okay as I haven’t got him here because of the problems.

“He’s a youngster so I don’t him in there eating the grass because I don’t know what’s in it.”

Mrs Robins is also concerned about the sewage affecting the value of their property.

The most recent eruption was in February and to try tosolve the problem, Southern Water removed the offending top soil and replaced it with biowaste.

However, this means the pipeline below the field is too close to the surface so heavy machinery cannot be used on the field in case it damages the pipe.

According to Southern Water, the pipe is bowed underneath the field which collects sewage and then the manhole explodes when rain fills it up.

A spokesman said: “We carried out a survey of the sewer pipe that runs through the field behind the Ostrich Hotel in Robertsbridge.

“Plans are now in place to refurbish or replace the pipe which will help reduce the risk of flooding.”

Mr and Mrs Robins say they just want their field back to the way it was and for Southern Water to sort out their pipe.

“The land has got to be reinstated – they keep telling us ‘we’ll do it, we’ll do it’ – but look what they did,” Mrs Robins said.

“They clearly can’t do it, they don’t know what they’re doing. They assure us it won’t happen again but of course it has, it’s just a nightmare.”

Although the field looks healthy and green, the pair say all manner of waste including bleach, drugs and medicine could be beneath the surface from the leaks.

Mr Robins said: “Are Southern Water going to wake up and sort it out or?”

The couple have written to MP Huw Merriman in the hope he can put pressure on the company to fix the problem.

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