AN ILKLEY councillor is pressing for urgent action to be taken after it was revealed raw sewage from a new housing development is being pumped into neighbouring gardens.

For months residents in the Manley Road area of Ben Rhydding have been contacting Councillor Anne Hawkesworth (Ind, Ilkley) complaining about foul smells and raw sewage in their gardens.

Cllr Hawkesworth has pursued the issue with the relevant authorities and has now been told by Yorkshire Water and Bradford Council the cause is a misconnected foul drainage system from Stonebridge Homes' Thimblestone development in Ben Rhydding Road.

Instead of connecting their foul drainage into a sewer in Clifton Road it has been connected into a surface water culvert which runs through gardens as an open watercourse. The gully runs from Thimblestones, a recent development of nine houses, down Manley Road to Bolling Road.

Cllr Hawkesworth said: "This has been going on for months. This is not just odour this is an open sewer going through gardens and eventually splashing cars and children when the gullies at the bottom of the road cannot cope.

"Something needs to be done. It needs rectifying. It is an open sewer and a public health risk."

A Yorkshire Water spokesperson said: “We have carried out an investigation in the Manley Road, Ben Rhydding area to establish the cause of the odour issues, including digging down to examine the sewers. We have now established that a new development has wrongly connected its foul drainage into a highway drain rather than connecting into our combined sewer in Clifton Road. We have had to pass this across to Bradford Council to deal with, as the misconnection is to the council’s asset, rather than a Yorkshire Water one and the power to require misconnections to be resolved sits with the Council.”

A Bradford Council spokesperson said: “Protecting communities from foul water and poor drainage systems is an important priority for the Council.

"Under the Building Act, the authority can require owners to repair private drainage systems and this matter is now under investigation.

“We are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.”

Cllr Hawkesworth has been told the Thimblestones development was inspected by an approved inspector, whose final notices are still in force. Sections 47 and 48 of the Building Act 1984 prevent the Council's Building Control from taking enforcement action for breach of the building regulations.

Cllr Hawkesworth added:"Obviously I will be pressing Bradford Council to take action. This is a serious breach of planning regulations. The new house owners also need to be pressing for answers."

A spokesperson for Stonebridge Homes said: "This is the first that we have heard of any issue at Ben Rhydding. We take our responsibilities very seriously and are investigating this immediately.

"We have discussed with our contractors who have stated that installation was completed correctly, so are further investigating what could be causing this issue."