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'People power' victory for Westminster Park residents

Lord Mayor of Chester Razia Daniels lent support to her constituents by joining protest

Lord Mayor of Chester Cllr Razia Daniels supporting residents of Westminster Park protesting at Dee Valley Water's proposed site for a pumping station on Fir Tree Avenue.

Residents are celebrating after a utility company agreed work on a new pumping station will only start once planning permission has been granted.

Householders in Fir Tree Avenue, Westminster Park , were furious on being notified by Dee Valley Water last Wednesday (August 2) that preparatory work was about to begin.

The water company then marked up trees and a section of hedge bordering Wrexham Road over the weekend.

But they didn’t reckon on the strength of feeling from locals who held an on site protest attended by ward councillor and Lord Mayor of Chester Razia Daniels (Con, Handbridge Park). The company is now stressing no trees or hedges will be removed without permission and contractors appear to be only carrying out work on the Wrexham Road side of the hedgerow.

Lord Mayor of Chester Cllr Razia Daniels at the site of proposed work on Wrexham Road.

Cllr Daniels said: “I have been in contact with the planning department. This work should not be starting before the planning application goes before the committee.”

Fir Tree Avenue residents Stephen and Carolyn Barnwell are incensed by Dee Valley Water’s general approach.

Mr Barnwell commented: “This last minute notification is typical of the high-handed way in which this project has been conducted. Back in April, without any consultation, and without any intention of applying for planning permission, Dee Valley posted a notice on a nearby fence informing us of their intention to build a pumping station the size of a double garage opposite our house. Further to our objections, they have submitted plans to Cheshire West and Chester Council .”

Residents have been told the pumping station is necessary to meet OfWat’s requirements for resilience in the water supply but suspect it has more to do with ensuring that there is a good supply to the proposed 1,400-homes development further down Wrexham Road.

Jennifer Crew and Brian Westcott from Westminster Park Residents' Association

Brian Westcott, of Westminster Park Residents’ Association, commented: “We are very concerned about the effects of this pumping station so close to local houses and the damage that is going to be caused to the trees screening the houses from the Wrexham Road.

“This area is part of the buffer zone between the Westminster Park estate and Wrexham Road and we are sure that there are alternative sites in the new development that could accommodate this pumping station and be less damaging to the environment.”

A spokesperson from Dee Valley Water responded: “Firstly, we’d like to reassure the local residents in Westminster Park that we absolutely will not be removing any trees or hedges without permission. We have submitted a planning application and will await the outcome of that.

The land off Wrexham Road, Chester, where there are plans to build at least 1,400 homes.

“The application is to build a new pumping station on Fir Tree Avenue to make sure we can provide a reliable water supply for the local area. This is something that is needed now and is not simply to serve any new developments that may occur.

“We have met with the local residents on more than one occasion to talk through the plans for the pumping station, and have worked with them to create the designs for the site. Feedback from those sessions has in fact led to the pumping station being made smaller and the position being changed, to be more in keeping with the wishes of the community.

“We always try to work with the local people so that what we do happens in the best and least disruptive way. We’ll continue to keep people informed throughout the work.”

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