Repairs to Hampstead water mains ruled out as hosepipe ban bites

Major repairs to leaking pipes in Hampstead will not take place until at least 2015 despite thousands of gallons of water flowing to waste every day.

Old and damaged water mains have caused leaks to spring up across the village over the last 12 months, it is claimed.

But despite the introduction of a hosepipe ban across London, Thames Water has rejected pleas to replace the outdated Victorian mains which supply the area.

Leaks in Flask Walk were not deemed “sufficiently high” for Thames Water to fund any major improvement works, according to Camden Council papers.

Former environment boss and Hampstead Town councillor Chris Knight said: “It’s just madness letting all this water go to waste and at the same time banning residents from watering their gardens.

“It’s the same as leaving a number of hoses on all day. There are literally thousands of litres of water going to waste.

“Residents in Flask Walk and Willow Road have just had enough of Thames Water pitching up, digging up the road, making minor improvements and then leaving again.”

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A leak outside the old swimming baths in Flask Walk has been running for up to six months, to the fury of residents.

Investigations carried out by Cllr Knight and John Williamson, of neighbouring Murray Terrace, estimated that more than 180,000 gallons had poured from the leak in that time.

Mr Williamson, 77, said: “The water board came and did a little bit of probing and made it even worse. They have got to dig the whole bloody lot up if they’re going to fix it.”

Local history museum and art gallery Burgh House, in New End Square, has been hit by the leaks, with a gaping hole in the road driving away trade from its caf� and threatening its lucrative wedding venue business.

Residents also raised concerns about water gushing from holes along East Heath Road, which Thames Water claims it has fixed.

A spokesperson for the water company said an engineer was set to inspect Flask Walk yesterday.

She said: “We have committed to repairing the leaks and are still in talks with the council about a longer term solution to the problem.”