Stagnant eyesore water feature angers Harbour residents

Sovereign Harbour. Canal water feature problem for residents. September 11th 2012 E37045N
Sovereign Harbour. Canal water feature problem for residents. September 11th 2012 E37045N

HUNDREDS of angry residents fear they will soon be lumbered with the UK’s biggest water feature which now resembles little more than a stagnant eyesore and expensive health risk.

People living near the giant fountain in Sovereign Harbour have been contacted by developers Persimmon asking them to sign a new deed of covenant for their homes, which would see 369 people made responsible for the water feature.

The alternative, they have been told, is that each home stumps up around £600 in back-paid maintenance costs.

More than 120 residents met earlier this week to discuss a plan of action and dozens turned out on Tuesday to meet the Herald and explain just why they don’t want ownership of the water feature.

Anton Levy explained that the water feature has not been running properly for some time and residents were aghast at the prospect of having to take over responsibility for it, not least because it is already haemorrhaging money.

Mr Levy highlighted a set of accounts which suggests the water bill alone had run to £61,314 between May 1, 2011 and April 30 this year.

He said, “If this goes ahead we will be responsible for a dilapidated water feature, quite possibly leaking hundreds of gallons of water monthly, a huge cost of putting right something Persimmon has struggled with for years, with no information on the running costs, but an estimated annual bill to each household of £600.

“It might not sound like a lot but having to pay £600 a year for something you don’t want, every year you live here, is unacceptable. The borough council asked for this feature to be built as part of the original development and said it would have to be open to the public – now we are being asked to foot the bill.”

That deal was part of an agreement made between the council and the developer and as part of the arrangement responsibility for the feature should have passed to the 369 households once the last property had been sold.

However, that has not happened because, say residents, the water feature has not worked for more than a few weeks of the nine years since it was built.

The locals also claim the council did not issue the developer with a Certificate of Satisfactory Completion on the fountain, meaning it should not be considered a fit enough state to hand over.

Joti Haulkory added, “The water is also constantly polluted and stagnant, the environmental department of the council should take up this issue.”

Concerns have also been raised about danger to children, while locals also say it attracts anti-social behaviour and vandalism.

Persimmon homes did not respond to requests for a comment.