New Holiday Inn at London Colney prompts sewage flood fears for nearby residents

Cllr Jacob Quagliozzi stands in front of the development of a new hotel near the London Colney shopp

Cllr Jacob Quagliozzi stands in front of the development of a new hotel near the London Colney shopping centre - Credit: Archant

Fears have been expressed that raw sewage will flood a local housing estate as a result of plans to connect a Holiday Inn Express to a substandard domestic wastewater system.

Vascroft Contractors Ltd is currently building the 86-bedroom hotel on a vacant piece of land near Colney Fields shopping park in London Colney.

But residents in nearby Thamesdale have reacted angrily after GB Directional Drilling recently wrote informing them that the sewage system of the Holiday Inn Express and a restaurant on the site would be linked to wastewater pipes outside their homes.

To make matters worse, both the council responsible for approving the scheme and sewerage company Thames Water appear to be washing their hands of the problem.

St Albans district councillor for London Colney, Jacob Quagliozzi, has spoken out on behalf of residents after they warned him the sewer pipes got blocked regularly and that such works were likely to add a great deal of effluent to an already over-stretched domestic system.

He said: “I’m very concerned about this. Residents are worried that due to the dilapidated state of local drains, the sewers serving more than 200 properties in that area will not be able to cope with the increase in volume.

“Local people tell stories of regular blockages in the current system and many worry these will increase, with some raising concerns of raw sewage flowing into the estate.”

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Cllr Quagliozzi has asked why the drilling company has chosen to use Thamesdale’s system instead of a commercial sewage line running from the adjacent Colney Fields shopping complex.

He added: “Sewers in London Colney have overflowed several times in recent years, most recently in September 2014 and February 2015.”

The majority of the construction site falls within Hertsmere borough council’s jurisdiction - which approved the scheme in 2010 - with the remainder falling within St Albans district.

County councillor for The Colneys Dreda Gordon said: “You have an application that impacts on residents in London Colney, and yet it was determined by Hertsmere – unfortunately there wasn’t a lot of joined-up thinking about it.”

The development includes five-bedroom ancillary employee accommodation, meeting rooms, offices and car parking.

It is located between the M25 slip road, the Bell roundabout and the petrol station at Colney Fields.

Thames Water’s senior press officer Sarah Sharpe did not comment on residents’ concerns, saying instead that the service had worked “closely with developers” and the council five years ago at the planning permission application stage.

She said Thames Water was no longer involved and the connections were now the responsibility of the company building the hotel, Vascroft.

The construction firm had not responded to this paper at the time of going to press.

A spokeswoman for Hertsmere borough maintained that the sewer system was “Thames Water’s responsibility.

“Thames Water can impose requirements on a new development before they accept the new connection onto their foul or surface water system but they did not request such a planning condition.”

A press officer speaking on behalf of Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) confirmed that the hotel under construction was a Holiday Inn Express, but said IHG was not responsible for the development.

She referred the Herts Advertiser to the Splendid Hotel Group, which submitted the scheme to the borough council five years ago.

But a spokeswoman for the privately-owned hotel group denied overall responsibility for the construction, saying that it had “disposed of the land in 2010”.