SEWAGE could cause problems in Wallingford if a new estate is not properly catered for, it has been warned.

Developers St Edward Homes and the Prudential Assurance Company have put forward plans to South Oxfordshire District Council for 555 homes, and a primary school, at Slade End Farm off Wantage Road.

But Lynda Atkins, independent county councillor and mayor of Wallingford, said she feared the proposed sewerage arrangements for the new estate needed revising.

Ms Atkins said: “This is a fundamental issue that could affect the whole town.

“After a long wait, Thames Water has produced a foul drainage option that involves draining the whole site to two pumping stations near its southern boundary, which would then pump it back across the site to the sewer in Wantage Road.

“The connection would be to a manhole between Fir Tree Avenue and Atwell Close, putting the flow all around the town, and eventually appearing at the St John’s Road pumping station.

“Instead, sewage should be taken more directly from the south-western end of the site to the sewage treatment works at Cholsey.”

Ms Atkins, also a town councillor, said the Thames Water proposals were too complicated and the town council would now urge the company to revise them.

She added that the town’s Victorian sewerage system was already running at capacity and the proposals would place it under further pressure.

She said: “We have already had sewage leaking onto Station Road in recent years and we don’t want that to be repeated, or for tankers to keep having to pull up at pumping stations because the system can’t cope.”

She added that the water company was also considering rebuilding the section of sewer between Queen’s Avenue and Sinodun Road to be a “holding tank”.

Ms Atkins added: “People on the new estate will be able to flush their toilets but precisely what will happen afterwards is anyone’s guess and as a town councillor and county councillor I will make my concerns known.”

Thames Water released a statement, which said: “Following initial investigation, Thames Water has identified an inability of the existing waste water infrastructure to accommodate the needs of this application.”

It added that work on the development should not start until a drainage strategy has been submitted to and approved by, the local planning authority, in consultation with the sewerage undertaker.

Thames Water added it wanted to ensure that sufficient capacity was made available to cope with the new development, and avoid an adverse environmental impact upon the community.

No one from the developers was available for comment.

Residents can give their views on the application until October 16 and SODC is due to decide the application by January 20.