Concerns at ‘death trap’ open drain

Kelly McGarvey of Bilston at the open drain outside her property.
Kelly McGarvey of Bilston at the open drain outside her property.

Residents in a new Bilston housing estate are angry at an open drain on the site which they claim is an accident waiting to happen.

They also believe that it is linked to flooding in their gardens on the Cameron Gardens housing development, leaving the gardens waterlogged and unfit for purpose.

Kelly McGarvey (28) of Corby Craig Terrace on the Taylor Wimpey development, said that the open drain, situated outside her house, has been an issue for nearly two years.

She said: “It’s just a collection of water really and it’s spilling through to the gardens. It’s really deep. There is fencing but it has blown down so it’s a health and safety issue.

“There are 198 homes on this development. It mainly affects people living in Corby Craig Gardens, Terrace and Avenue, at the back of the development. I would say that is at least 50 homes.

“The drain is literally adjacent to my house, if I knew this would be there I would not have purchased this house.

“Environmental Health are going to be looking into it. Especially as there is an awful smell coming from it.

“It smells like sewage, like dirty water, just stagnant.

“It’s not even a drain really, it’s like a ditch in the middle of the development. The smell is obviously much worse in the summer, with flies around it, and people have seen vermin.

“The water is going nowhere, it’s just stagnant water, and it’s coming through the gardens from underneath.”

Kelly said that despite repeated attempts by residents to resolve the issue nothing has been done by Taylor Wimpey and she fears it could take a tragedy to see action finally taken. She said: “Taylor Wimpey are not playing ball. They are aware of it but they are trying to say it’s fit for purpose but it’s not. It has been brought to their attention several times, they are not interested.

“We tried to get them to have an underground drain but they were against it, I think because of the costs.

“We want to bring this to everyone’s attention, it’s not acceptable. It’s a death trap.

“They are going to have to do something. There are lots of kids who play in this area and I think one of them could drown in it, it’s an accident waiting to happen. If this was far away from people’s houses then fair enough, but it’s literally two metres outside my house.”

Martyn Campbell, production director for Taylor Wimpey East Scotland, has promised action will be taken, adding: “We are aware of customer concerns at our Cameron Gardens development and as a responsible housebuilder we take the health and safety of residents and the local community very seriously.

“We are working closely with our groundworker contractor who will visit the development to clear the drainage channel of any debris and carry out any remedial works that are required. We will also monitor the area to ensure the situation improves.

“In addition, the damaged fence panel has been temporarily repaired and a new permanent fence will be installed later this week.”

A spokeswoman for Midlothian Council said: “Following a site visit by Building Standards it has been established that a drainage swale which forms part of a surface water control measure appears to be blocked and requires attention.

“The developer, who is the current owner of the affected area, has been contacted and they have advised Building Standards that they are aware of the problem and are in discussion with the relevant house holders to agree a suitable solution.

“Until such times as a suitable measure is agreed, Building Standards have requested that the developer address the blockage and reduce the water level and reinstate the security fence.”