Planning your development

During the early stages of your development, as you plan your options and understand potential water and wastewater solutions for your site, we would encourage you to understand the services we offer and apply for a capacity check for your site.

We can also help you in obtaining sewer or water maps and provide clarification of how we plan to supply developments where there isn’t immediate capacity in our network.

Sewer and Water Maps

You can find out where the public sewers and water mains are in your area by requesting a sewer and water map to understand the connection options available to you.

How we engage in the Planning Process

We work with a number of bodies including Local Planning Authorities, Parish Councils and Developers when it comes to providing the right infrastructure to provide for new developments. This can include engaging with:

  • Local and Neighbourhood Plans
  • Responding to Planning Applications
  • Consulting with Developers

We’ve put together a guide so you can understand further how we engage in the planning process.

Reinforcement Timeframes

When there isn’t immediate capacity in our network to accommodate a new development, we know you’ll want to understand the timescales for when the network will be reinforced to provide for this new capacity. Our position statement: provision of network reinforcement outlines the two main mechanisms for funding new infrastructure and the process if network reinforcement is required.

Water

Planning for your water infrastructure is an important part of a new development, and our water mains need to be adequately planned to ensure they continue to deliver the needs of our customers across our water stressed region without compromising the risk to public health.

Water Pre-Planning Enquiries

Engaging us before you apply for planning permission allows us to plan for future network capacity requirements and help you make an informed choice on the delivery route for the water infrastructure to the site (i.e. water company requisition, Self-lay Providers or New Appointment and Variations (NAV)).

Please read through our Guidance Notes and submit your completed Water Pre-planning Enquiry Application Form to SouthernWaterPlanning@southernwater.co.uk. We’ll review the application within seven calendar days of receipt to confirm the documentation is complete and you’ll receive a pre-planning enquiry report within 21 calendar days.

Point of Connection Applications

For sites with over 500 units (although available for all sites) we’d recommend applying for a Point of Connection application. Please read through our Guidance Notes and submit your completed Point of Connection Application Form to selflay@southernwater.co.uk. We’ll review your application within five calendar days of receipt and you’ll receive a point of connection report within 14 calendar days – unless your site is complex, in which case this timescale will increase to 28 calendar days.

A complex site is one where any of the following apply:

  • Number of plots on site over 500
  • Special engineering difficulties identified
  • Mains pressure (where the site is higher than the reservoir on a gravity-fed system)
  • Reinforcement that may require more than laying or upsizing a main (e.g. booster pump)
  • Highways constraints (e.g. major trunk road/motorways where a site meeting with a highway authority is specifically required)
  • Environmental issues in respect of SSSI or other designated sites
  • Site of archaeological interest
  • Third party and Crown Estate land
  • Protected undertakers (e.g. other utilities and Network Rail)
  • Schedule 13 Water Industry Act 1991 constraints

An application fee will be required based on the number of units capacity is being checked for and is detailed on the application forms. You can also work out the approximate costs for the site specific work using our connection charging calculator.

Planning Site Water Supplies

We offer a number of water services to help you connect to our network or provide solutions for your site. These include water connections, new water mains through us and water main diversions.

If you are unsure if you require a water connection (S45) or a new water main (S41), then have a read of our guidance detailing the difference between a S45 and S41.

We also work closely with Self-lay Providers and will adopt these independently installed mains and services once they are commissioned. Alternatively you can consider using New Appointments and Variations to supply you water infrastructure and services for your site.

 

Contaminated land
When laying a new water pipe, we need to ensure the correct materials are used to protect the quality of drinking water and this is especially important in land with a prior use or classed as brownfield.

With any application for new water mains to supply a development, you will need to include a completed contaminated land risk assessment which is filled out and signed by the risk assessor who should be a suitably competent person with the relevant experience in investigating contaminated sites or geo-environmental assessments. There are further guidance notes within the form.

Undertaking these geo-technical assessments early in your site planning will help you choose the appropriate materials for the development.

Target 100 – Promoting water efficiency

We operate in a water stressed region and are keen to work with developers and incentivise them to build new homes that are water efficient. Our aim is to reduce the average amount of water used by our customers to 100 litres per person per day. Currently our existing customers use about 130 litres per person per day on average.

When new homes are built with water efficient fixtures and fittings that will achieve average water use of 110 litres per person per day, we will allow an enhanced Income Offset against the ‘gross’ Infrastructure Charge. The current enhanced Income Offset can be found through our new connections charging arrangements.

Wastewater

Planning for your water infrastructure is an important part of a new development, and our water mains need to be adequately planned to ensure they continue to deliver the needs of our customers across our water stressed region without compromising the risk to public health.

Wastewater Pre-Planning Enquiries

All pre-planning enquiries should be made by applying via our portal.

When you are planning to connect to our network, you will need to understand if there is available capacity at your point of connection. A pre-planning enquiry will assist in identifying any possible capacity constraints that may be associated with servicing your development site. Please read our wastewater pre-planning enquiry guidance notes for more information.

An application fee will be required and is based on the number of units capacity is being checked for. The application fees are detailed on the application form.

Planning Site Drainage

We offer a number of wastewater services to help you connect to our network or provide solutions for your site. These include sewer connections, sewer main requisitions and sewer main diversions.

Developers can also build and offer to us newly-constructed or existing sewer, pumping station or wastewater treatment works to be adopted by us as a public sewer or asset. For large/complex sites to be offered for a sewer adoption, one of our engineers can discuss with you the early stages of your design and proposals for maintaining a sewerage system.

Alternatively you can consider using New Appointments and Variations to supply you wastewater infrastructure and services for your site.

 

SuDS and the surface water hierarchy
Where surface water is being considered for discharge to our network we require a hierarchy of discharge options to be followed and we also support the use of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS). We will consider certain SuDS for adoption and recognise the biodiversity, amenity and water quality contribution they make. Please read through our outline guidance on these topics.

  • Highway drainage from new developments should not be connected to our sewer network.
  • Land drainage will not be allowed to discharge to the public sewer network.
Planning Topics

We’ve added our statements with regards to specific topics and geographical areas of our network in the below section.

Nutrient Neutrality

Housing development in our region can affect the levels of nitrogen and phosphate in the wastewater we treat. Nutrient removal is governed by strict permits from our regulators, so we must consider the impact any local development will have on our ability to operate to the expected standards.

Please read through our removing nutrients from wastewater FAQ and our position statement for nitrates in the Solent.

Briefing Note for Local Planning Authorities on Infrastructure Provision

If you are a member of the Local Planning Authority (LPA) looking to understand how we respond to planning consultations and how this relates to our obligations as a water and sewerage company, please read through our briefing note for LPA’s on Infrastructure Provision.

New developments in the Chichester / Apuldram WWTW Catchment

To prevent environmental harm and safeguard the special water environment in Chichester Harbour, we have worked with the Environment Agency to provide a joint position statement on managing new development in the Apuldram catchment. This statement has been prepared with the involvement of the Chichester Water Quality Group.

Local Plans Guiding Principles

When we assess planning policy consultations, including Local Plans, we do so by taking into account some guiding principles in line with the National Planning Policy Framework. You can find out more by reading our Local Plans Guiding Principles.

New developments in Stodmarsh

Following guidance from Natural England on achieving nutrient-neutral development in the Stour region to reduce the impact of additional nutrients arising from new homes, we have prepared a positon statement on nitrates in the Stour. Further to our removing nutrients from wastewater FAQ we have also prepared a Stodmarsh nutrient removal FAQ.

New developments in Sussex North

In the Sussex North water resource zone we have identified a risk to optimising the operation of our existing groundwater abstraction at Hardham, with uncertainty as to how much additional supply would be delivered given the environmental impact on groundwater abstraction. To help understand this uncertainty and what it means for new developments looking to connect to our network, we have prepared a position statement for the Sussex North Water Supply Zone.

Odour assessments

Due to the potential odour nuisance from a Waste Water Treatment Works, no sensitive development should be located within the 1.5 OdU odour contour of the WWTW. An Odour Assessment will need to be carried out by a specialist consultant employed by the developer to a specification that will need to be agreed in advance with ourselves to identify and agree the 1.5 OdU contour. To discuss and agree the Scope of the odour assessment please contact us.
You can also find details of our odour assessment charges.

Source protection zones

If you are building within a source protection zone, you’ll need to ensure you protect the public underground water supply sources by contacting the Environment Agency and ourselves to discuss your proposals.

 
 
 
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