TEST Valley Borough Council is calling on a housing association to stop increasing its 'scandalous' sewerage charges. 

More than 300 ex-council houses in villages across the Test Valley are connected to plants operated by Aster housing association.

The charges have seen a dramatic increase, as tankers are being sent from Kent almost weekly to empty the system because it is otherwise leaking into the neighbouring ditch.

The Advertiser has reported on multiple examples across the region of skyrocketing bills.

A motion was unanimously supported by Test Valley Borough Council to call for a solution. Cllr Nick Adams-King, who proposed the motion, said: “This has been a long and complex road. Aster's management is short of where it should be.

READ MORE: Aster sewerage bill: Test Valley residents angry at increased charge

Hampshire Chronicle: Cllr Nick Adams-King speaking at the meeting

“This comes down to the choices Aster has made. They have chosen to not invest in these sewerage plants. They need to choose to do the right thing. People just can't afford these charges.”

For the first time since 2019, a council motion was seconded by a member of the opposition party. Liberal Democrat Cllr Mark Cooper said: “This is scandalous. The leverage Aster has to get these charges is scandalous. Quite frankly, this is a total disgrace.”

The motion presented to the council said: “In 2021 Aster let a new contract for management of their sewerage services to Willow Pumps Ltd, based in Kent, who charge on an hourly basis for their work - resulting in significantly higher costs than those charged by local sewerage contractors.

“At this point in time none of the sewerage treatment plants are working as they should. Most are stoppered off and waste is being removed from them by tanker. As a result costs have increased exponentially in the last three years, resulting in monthly charges as high as £496.36 being levied to home owners. Conversely, Aster tenants are charged around £60 per month (with Aster paying any additional amounts on the tenants’ behalf).

“This council calls upon Aster to re-tender its sewerage treatment service contract for Test Valley, appointing a contractor whose costs are comparable to those charged by local suppliers. 

“Create a plan to bring all sewerage treatment plants into fully working, environmentally compliant, order. The cost of which should recognise their failure to maintain the plants or plan for their replacement, and not place undue financial burdens on homeowners and tenants alike.”

Cllr Alan Dowden said: “I very much support this. This is such a major issue for people. I hadn't realised that people were impacted across the whole Test Valley.”

The motion was unanimously supported.