£500,000 - The cost of getting water to just TWO houses

Lower Gorple cottages to get mains water at great expense.'Widdop Road.'Pictured is cottages
Lower Gorple cottages to get mains water at great expense.'Widdop Road.'Pictured is cottages

TWO Calderdale homes are being connected to the mains water supply – at a cost of £500,000.

The huge sum will stun Yorkshire Water customers who face an inflation-busting 4.6 per cent rise in bills from next month.

But, the company said its hands were tied and it had to do the work by April in rural Heptonstall.

Spokesman Matt Thompson said it was a legal requirement by the Drinking Water Inspectorate.

“We have got to accept it’s a big job for a relatively few people,” he said.

“We don’t want to have to do this work but we have to.”

The properties, near Lower Gorple Reservoir, were previously owned by Yorkshire Water and sold in the 1990s when the then residents got the right to buy.

At present they get water from an old spring near the reservoir dam, which is filtered and pressurised.

Resident Daniel Brook said the water tasted good but quality regulations were being improved and it now didn’t meet current standards.

“It does seem a lot of money,” said Mr Brook.

He said for a such a major job the project had been rushed through and the company could have done more to limit disruption and expense and considered a new bore

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hole.

“I do not know if that would have been feasible but now Yorkshire Water are spending half a million at least,” he said.

“But it justifies it by saying that is what it has to do.”

The full cost will be met by Yorkshire Water.

The job started on Monday and involves laying 4km of new pipe, running from Lower Gorple Reservoir along an access track and along a 2.5km stretch of Widdop Road.

It involves closing 200 metres of Widdop Road in stretches between Heptonstall and Colne - with a potential 40-mile mile round trip for drivers wanting to reach Colden as they would have to drive to Colne, Burnley and back to Heptonstall.

Mr Thompson said road closures would be kept to a minimum and access would be maintained for residents.

The company has also agreed to pay £300 each to around 10 householders on Widdop Road as a “fuel allowance.”

The DWI is an independent regulator of drinking water quality and where water quality poses a potential risk to health companies are required to bring supplies up to standard.

Principal inspector Sue Pennison said: “Our concern is that everyone receiving water from a water company is entitled to a safe supply.

“The properties had historic arrangements for their supplies which meant they were at risk of receiving water that was a potential risk to human health.

“Yorkshire Water was aware of this but this had not been remedied and consequently the Drinking Water Inspectorate has required that improvements are made to the supply.

“The Inspectorate does not mandate the way in which the supplies are bought up to the required standard, that is for the water company to decide.”

The company has a small handful of supplies where the quality of water gives cause for concern and it had chosen to put those properties on the mains supply, according to the DWI.

From 2010-2015 Yorkshire Water is spending £610 million on improvements to drinking water supplies of which mains diversion is the smallest part costing £5 million.