RESIDENTS in a town which has seen 1,000 homes built in recent years have had to put up with “sewage bubbling out of manholes and running down the street”, councillors were told.

Several people from Newent say their market town is growing at a faster rate relative to its size than any of the other neighbouring towns.

But the planned investment in employment and facilities in the historic town, which currently has a population of around 6,700, has failed to materialise, they say.

And residents claim the infrastructure cannot cope as heavy rains recently led to raw sewage “bubbling up through manhole covers” in the town, which “ran through the street for several days”.

The Newent Local Plan map showing development areas
The Newent Local Plan map showing development areas (Local Democracy)

Mark James, said in a letter to councillors that their current development blueprint for the district, set out that new employment sites should be created in Newent to support the new housing to avoid encouraging increased commuting. to work elsewhere

“What happened? He asked in a written question to civic chiefs presented last Thursday’s (April 18) Forest of Dean District Council meeting in Coleford.

“Despite the policy set out, Newent has gained over 1,000 new homes during the current plan period – a faster rate of development, relative to the town’s size than any of the other Forest towns.

“At the same time the planned investment in employment and facilities has failed to materialise.

“Newent residents could be forgiven for feeling neglected and betrayed by previous Forest of Dean District Council administrations.

“Does the new Green administration have plans to get things back on track for Newent, and ensure our future as a sustainable working agricultural market town?”

Jeff Steers asked the council how knowledge of sewage flowing through the streets in recent heavy rains will impact on the planning policies for Newent in the emerging local plan.

“During a period of heavy rains earlier this month raw sewage bubbled up through manhole covers in Newent and ran through the street for several days,” he said.

“Severn Trent Water have now been trying to remedy this for the last ten days with traffic lights, a large tanker and diggers.

“The infrastructure was simply unable to cope with the combined flow and weight of rainwater and effluent.

“In a response to a recent planning application, Severn Trent have stated that their facilities in Newent will be unable to cope with the impacts of more new houses being built until planned upgrades at their facilities have been completed, which will likely be 2030 or later.”

Linda Borne, another Newent resident, asked what the council would do to safeguard the best and most versatile agricultural land in and around the town.

“This land is important because it is constantly able to produce the highest yield of crops, the widest variety of crops and has the greatest potential to continue to be productive through climate change,” she said in her question to the council.

“Forest of Dean District Council is custodian to only a small area of this vital natural resource: mainly surrounding the town of Newent.

“Its existence seems to have been largely overlooked by previous administrations.

“How will the council recognise the significance and value of this land in emerging strategic and development plans?”

New council leader Adrian Birch (Green, Tidenham) told the meeting more details about the emerging local plan which will set out the blueprint for development until 2041 would be made public in the coming months.