City gardens turned to sewers by housing project

James McGoldrick says the stream is now full of polluted water. Picture: Jane Barlow
James McGoldrick says the stream is now full of polluted water. Picture: Jane Barlow
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AN Environment watchdog has begun investigations after the gardens of a number of city residents were turned into stinking open sewers.

Homeowners at The Wisp, who have been have been granted a condition to discharge overflow from septic tanks into Magdalene Burn for 20 years, have been left holding their noses after works for Persimmon Homes’ nearby 146-house development caused the stream to be blocked.

This has resulted in effluent and excrement-filled water being left to pool at the end of their properties. The repugnant waste water is also steadily seeping towards Hunter’s Hall Public Park.

Resident James McGoldrick, 62, said he and his five neighbours’ problems began two weeks ago when the burn was diverted following the start of work on the nearby site.


He said: “It really is disgusting, in this hot weather the smell is far from pleasant, not to mention the public health issue. We’ve been left with a great muddy puddle containing polluted water which is now emptying into a public park.

“I’ve raised the issue with Persimmon on numerous occasions but all to no avail. We seem to have been going around in circles on this.”

It is understood that once drainage and utility works are completed by groundworks contractor Allma the site will be transferred from Isle of Man-based landowners Sheratan Limited to Persimmon Homes for construction.

The development is part of plans by the city council to build more than 800 new homes on empty land behind the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, between Greendykes Road and The Wisp.

‘Needs to be fixed’

A spokesman from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), confirmed that a letter which constitutes the first step of enforcement procedure has been sent to Persimmon Homes in regards to the matter.

He added: “SEPA has received confirmation that the developer has now begun work to rectify the blockage and officers will carry out an inspection over the coming days to ensure that this work is being progressed.”

However Persimmon claims that the problem is not for them, despite their name being attached to the application, and have forwarded SEPA’s letter to Sheratan. A spokeswoman said: “I can confirm that Persimmon has planning consent on the Greendykes site but the land has not yet been transferred from the existing owner Sheratan, who are currently carrying out the work.”

Both Allma and Sheratan Limited declined to comment on the matter.

Local councillor David Walker said: “Regardless of who owns this land the situation needs to be fixed – and quickly as this is a public health issue.

“I have every sympathy with Mr McGoldrick and his neighbours and hope that SEPA take a firm line on the matter.”