Wednesday 26th July 2023

Brighton's water under threat from Royal Mail: urgent call for public objections

Experts and residents fear that Royal Mail's bid to takeover Patcham Court Farm poses risk to the city's aquifer and water supply. The deadline for objections is 3rd August. 

Royal Mail wants to build a large-scale delivery depot and relocate two delivery offices based in Brighton and Hove to Patcham Court Farm, next to a conservation area. Royal Mail's application would give them control of land that is currently publicly owned and located in a critical aquifer area. This aquifer helps supply water to over 116, 000 households in Brighton and Hove. 

The Royal Mail plans to pave over the ground at Patcham Court Farm to make way for a large-scale industrial development. Residents are concerned that the construction would effectively block the aquifer and cut off the water filtration process on the site near Southern Water’s Waterhall Pumping Station.  As a result, rainfall in the area would be diverted to sewers and wasted. Overloading the sewers may increase the frequency and severity of flooding - known to be an issue in Patcham. 

When the site was considered as a Park and Ride option by the council in 2005 the Environment Agency objected and said building on this site poses a potentially unacceptable risk of contamination to water. Royal Mail’s proposed development of the site could put the city’s water supply at risk of human sewage and industrial pollutants. There is currently a “Poor Quality” rating on the water from the Brighton Chalk Block and the Drinking Water Inspectorate considers that the water from the pumping station is "at risk of becoming unwholesome". 


Dr James Rhodes, a research and development engineer and senior numerical analyst, said: “Development on this site will reduce Brighton’s water supply now, and in the future. Millions of gallons of water will be wasted.”

Anne Meadows, Councillor for Patcham and Hollingbury said: “The Royal Mail’s proposed takeover of Patcham Court Farm is not a small neighbourhood issue. It will affect the whole city and potentially jeopardise our water security for decades to come. Royal Mail’s declining ability to even deliver post on time raises doubts they could responsibly manage this vital water asset.”

Residents have until 3rd August to make objections on the council’s website and must use reference BH2022/02232.


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