Ipswich: Major upheaval as streets ripped up

Thousands of householders will be hit by major disruption from next month as a utility firm begins digging up scores of roads, The Evening Star can reveal today.

A whopping 3,000 homes in 45 streets face upheaval as Anglian Water starts a 12-month project to rip out and replace the town’s lead water pipes.

The water company says its �1.4million scheme - which has been funded through customer revenue - has been necessitated by a tightening of EU regulations over the amount of lead allowed in drinking water.

Work is expected to begin in three north west Ipswich streets - Ashcroft Road, Beechcroft Road and Whitton Church Lane - in late October and will be focused on the town’s pre-1970 housing stock. The remaining 42 streets will be excavated over the next year.

“The motivation is simply to make sure we have not got lead in drinking water,” said John Clare, a spokesman for Anglian Water.

“The standards are tight and the water in Ipswich is very, very hard and that reduces the amount of lead in the water.

“I think what we’re looking at is a gradual tightening of the standards. We have already had lead taken out of petrol and paints.”

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But while Anglian Water will replace the main piping beneath the streets, it will not do anything about pipes between the road and individual houses.

Mr Clare added: “If they were able to I would advise householders to replace them - it’s the simplest way to ensure your water is lead-free.”

The company says work in each street - unless it is especially long like Ashcroft Road - should be completed within a fortnight.

“I appreciate that there is a disruption involved here but I would rather people are informed and understand what the situation is,” said Mr Clare. “We are doing what we can and that includes giving people the information.”

Councillor Christopher Stewart, who represents the Whitton ward on Ipswich Borough Council, said: “One can’t say it’s a good idea to run drinking water through lead pipes, something has to be done and I would hope the utility company will be aware of the impact they’re causing and do everything they can to minimise the impact.

“If it cuts down on the possibility of leakages we ought to welcome it.”

Donald Ward, also a Whitton councillor, said: “I suppose residents are used to disruption.

“You’ll get one or two who complain but overall I think they’ll put up with it providing it’s not too long.

“I think they’ll be welcomed because you can get lead poisoning, although I have not heard anyone get it.”

Phase one: Ashcroft Road, Beechcroft Road, Whitton Church Lane.

Phase two: Bennett Road, Brockley Crescent, Henniker Road, Shafto Road, Cromer Road, Wallace Road, Kelvin Road.

Phase three: Kensington Road, Mornington Avenue, Westholme Road, Broom Hill Road, Sherrington Road.

Phase four: Brookfield Road, Riverside Road, Waterloo Road, Blenheim Road, Beaconsfield Road, Gatacre Road, Hampton Road, Windsor Road, Sirdar Road, Surrey Road.

Phase five: Alpe Street, Cecil Road.

Phase six: Finchley Road, Hervey Street.

Phase seven: Myrtle Road, Newbury Road, Tennyson Road, Back Hamlet

Phase eight: Ashley Road, Bradley Street, Hartley Street, Martin Road, Pauline Street, Luther Road, Phillip Road,

Rectory Road, Seymour Road, Stoke Hall Road, Shelley Street, Belstead Avenue.