Campaigners battling to bring years of flood misery to an end have taken a major step in the right direction.
Residents on the Nest Estate in Mytholmroyd have suffered at the hands of an ageing water main, which has consistently burst and flooded gardens.
Yorkshire Water has said it would replace the ring main - moving it from the back to the front of properties - but said residents in privately-owned properties, who it believes are responsible for the “private pipe”, had to pay £177,000 for the hook-up between the new main and their house, which works out at around £1,900 per property.
Pennine Housing 2000 said it would contribute £300,000 towards the project.
Yorkshire Water’s stance has angered the estate’s owner occupiers who are adamant they’re not responsible for the pipe. Resident Jade Smith, who has been holding discussions with the utility company, called a public meeting at St Michael’s Church, which was attended by residents, representatives of Yorkshire Water, Pennine Housing 2000 and Calderdale Council.
At the meeting, Dave Stevenson, from Yorkshire Water, said “as a gesture of good will” the company would maintain and repair the pipe free of charge, and work to limit the amount of bursts on the main, which costs between £300 and £500 a time to repair. The offer will be reviewed in April 2014.
Mr Stevenson said the company would pay for third party legal advice to establish who is legally responsible for the pipe. He said if Yorkshire Water was it would make a “contribution to the renewal of the remaining highway with Pennine Housing”.
Residents had feared that the project would fold without a 100 per cent take up from residents on the estate, but Mr Stevenson said the company would “keep the old ring main up and run it alongside the old one”. He also said he would arrange for an estate representative to have a meeting with a director of Yorkshire Water.
Jade said she appreciated that 70 residents turned out for the meeting and thanked Yorkshire Water for continuing to keep dialogue open.
“I feel like the eight weeks of constant complaining has paid off because Yorkshire Water has moved from refusing to speak to us to offering us a meeting with one of their directors,” she said.
However, Luddenden Foot ward councillor Simon Young said Yorkshire Water should be doing more to help the its customers on the estate by making a significant contribution towards the project.
“I totally accept Yorkshire Water’s position that they don’t have any legal responsibility for the pipe, but they do have a moral obligation to help their customers who have been paying their rates for many years,” he said.