LETTER: Spiralling down the drain

In this area, we have long suffered from being under a private water company. Hailsham residents, for example, were amongst the first to have water meters imposed on them en masse. General Privatisation was enforced under the Thatcher administration and, predictably, we saw standards plummet in energy and transport. It now seems that the most basic service of all, namely water, is spiralling down the same drain.

A South East Water engineer has said that the burst water main that left Eastbourne, Polegate and Hailsham without water at the beginning of last week was the worst he had seen in 40 years. Now, why would that be? For some time, people have been worrying about the lack of infrastructure to support the boom in house building in this area. Did South East Water, by any chance, raise the pressure in existing pipes to meet the increased demand? If so, this “worst burst for 40 years” will be just the beginning.

In this money-sodden system, compensation is, apparently, the solution to all ills. Well; are they going to divert some of the damned shareholder’s dividends to top up consumer confidence? They may be deluged with complaints if they don’t.

So, what did the local authorities do, on finding Wealden’s largest town reduced to near-Third World conditions? It appears to have been left entirely to volunteers to provide what organisation there was. What authority do volunteers have to deal with things like people fighting over bottled water? How are volunteers to judge who is entitled to how much? How can they know how many bottles a nursing home needs?

Do Wealden and East Sussex still have an Emergency Committee; or was it one of the victims of Cameron’s cutbacks? Really; if ISIS, Vladimir Putin, or, God help us, Mars attacks, they would walk all over us.

Martin Hillman
 and David Ellis

Hawks Road, Hailsham

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