A VILLAGE'S drainage problems may have been resolved after a pipe was desilted - paving the way for future housing developments.
Community leaders in Malpas are celebrating after Welsh Water removed a blockage in a pipe which was discovered after miniature CCTV cameras were sent into the pipework.
Householders in the Well Meadow area had suffered flooding with sewage entering their homes. In addition, the flooding issue led to a moratorium on the building of any new homes.
City and parish councillor Keith Ebben, speaking at the monthly parish meeting, reported on a forum where he learned the unblocking of one of two pipes serving the village should virtually double its drainage capacity.
He said: 'We went to this meeting in Chester and they have cleared out this secondary sewage pipe they discovered - the one that was silted up. They have yet to carry out a survey to determine how effective it is.
'They have discovered several reasons why the surface water blocks up. There was an angle or bend in the pipe which created a potential blockage. That was another element and they have put it into the programme, but it won't be until 2004/05 before there is further drainage in Springfield. They are confident what they have done will resolve the problem, unless there is an extreme situation in terms of weather - a flash storm.' Cllr Ebben explained Welsh Water had funding priorities related to the severity of flooding problems.
'They have a series of categories which account for their priorities. If the flooding happens every five years, that clearly is a priority. If it happens every 21 years then it falls into a low category.'
Drainage problems meant a proposed 54-home development at the site of the Corn Merchants in Chester Road was a non-starter. But Cllr Ebben, who believes limited development would be good for Malpas, wonders whether this scenario could now change.
He added: 'If they have corrected the problem we should ask if they are prepared to say they are happy development can restart.
'There has been a moratorium on virtually everything being built that is now answered.'
However, Cllr Ebben, who described the progress so far as 'significant moves forward', said there was still a question-mark over whether the sewage works could handle the increased load. If not, then the cost of upgrading could run into millions of pounds. He praised fellow Cllr Eric Beak for pursuing the flooding issue with the relevant authorities.
Cllr Colin Richards does not want to see the village rush into further developments just yet. 'It's too soon to lift the ban on development,' he said.