28 September 2012
One of the oldest water companies in the UK may be forced to finally turn off its taps because maintenance costs were spiralling out of control.
The Fenny Compton Water Company Ltd was originally created by a local landowner in 1886 to protect the villagers of Fenny Compton from deadly diseases such as cholera.
Water was sourced from a pure spring in the Avon Dassett hills, Warwickshire, and piped through to only 36 homes and three businesses.
The company was the smallest of its kind in England but also one of the longest running. However the prospect of £200,000 worth of repairs has meant that directors of the company are now putting its future to a vote.
Company secretary Jill Rankin told the BBC: “It is really sad and nobody wants it to shut. But replacing the pipes is going to cost £200,000 and we have only got £7,000 in the bank.”
She added: “We’re asking the village whether it wants to keep the company going or shut it down and move to Severn Trent.
“As time has gone on we are having to fix increasing numbers of leaks and the cost of fixing them has gone up substantially.”
It used to be that the Fenny Compton Water Company Ltd could get local men to repair any leaks or problems with the infrastructure. But now tight regulations mean that experienced contractors have to be called in and this costs a great deal more money.
Depending on what residents decide, there is a transfer fee for changing to Severn Trent Water of £1,500. The remaining company funds would then be distributed to pensioners and single parent families in the village.
Resident David Walker, who has helped repair burst pipes with a hammer and chisel over the years, said: “I personally wouldn’t like to see the Fenny Compton Water Company Ltd shut down because we’ve been looking after it for all these years. However the time has come when we have to replace the pipes or give up. It’s an awful shame.”