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Severn Trent apology after residents 'patronised' over water shortage

By Dominic Robertson | Much Wenlock | News | Published:

A water company has apologised after residents said they were made to feel like “liars” following shortages in a town.

Severn Trent says it has made a improvements, particularly around communications, since Much Wenlock was left high and dry twice in the past 12 months.

A heated meeting heard from residents who said they were patronised when they called asking for more information following the drought in September 2017.

It was caused after a pipe burst underground and left residents without water for 15 hours and desperate for information.

Simon Harris, councillor for nearby Broseley, which was also affected, said at that time initially Severn Trent refused to believe residents, saying the shortage was only in Telford.

He said he was sent a “patronising” letter.

He added: “I have since written to Severn Trent and have received a very patronising letter back.

“It does get to the point where you do feel you are being called a liar.

“Some residents did get compensation but their next door neighbours didn’t.

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“How can you distinguish between the two? You have got to do it for everyone.”

The most recent three-day drought was caused by “unprecedented” demand during the heatwave and saw 2,000 homes without water.

Steve Allmark, operations lead for Severn Trent, said the firm was “praying” for rain.

He added: “It has been a lovely summer so far but in the water industry we are praying for rain.

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“We haven’t seen anything like this since 1976.

“In both instances we couldn’t cope but we are trying to get better.

“Ultimately we want to give information out as soon as possible.

“Last month we struggled to get information from the field to the call centre but over the past couple of weeks that has improved.

“Next time – and we have to accept there will be a next time – if you call you will get the information over the phone or over the website or Twitter much faster.

“We are sorry if you were made to feel small or insignificant or a liar – that was not our intention.”

By Emily Lloyd, Local Democracy Reporter

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