A Wickford environmentalist has slammed plans to build 600 new homes at Runwell for fears the sewage system cannot cope.

Roy Hart, Chairman of the Crouch River Conservation Trust, is concerned that plans to build 600 new homes on the site of the former Runwell Hospital means all the extra waste will lead to blockages at the Shotgate Sewage Works, and pollute the river.

The river, which runs through the Wickford Memorial Park, off Runwell Road, is located at the bottom of the hill and the pollution would travel downwards, killing fish and ruining all the hard work he has put in making the area clean.

Mr Hart said: “My primary concern is whether the capacity at the sewege works will hold up against the strain of 600 extra homes and potentially 1,200 people using those homes. All it takes is one block or a clog and the whole thing could lead to disaster as that is a lot of extra waste for the plant to handle.”

“The water is sparkling at the moment and it would break my heart to see all of the trust’s hard work go to waste. We have fish swimming in the river every day and none of us want it polluted again.”

An Anglian Water spokesman said: “In this case we do not believe the extra sewage generated by 600 new homes in Runwell would affect the running of our treatment works.