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‘Evidence’ builder Persimmon used ‘sub-standard materials’ in raw sewage seeping Lathrow Meadows housing development

Persimmon Lathro Meadows sewage
Workers pumping sewage out of the estate.

Builder Persimmon used “sub-standard materials” in the failed sewer system at the Lathrow Meadows housing development, it has been claimed.

Persimmon contractors continue to pump sewage out of the troubled new build Lathro Meadows in Kinross before disposing of it at another site.

A series of emails, released to campaigners under FOI powers, reveal fresh detail about the extent of the problems.

They include:

  • NHS Tayside and Perth and Kinross Council (PKC) officials investigated a case of E. Coli after claims a person had contracted it due to the drainage problems
  • An environmental health official said she had “evidence to suggest sub-standard materials used” in the build
  • Council officials attempted, but failed, to prevent other homeowners from moving in to the estate to protect public health
  • Environmental health workers found “raw sewage” on the ground during a site visit

Residents’ misery shows no sign of ending as Scottish Water refuse to “adopt” the drainage system, due to its poor condition.

More houses in the pipeline

Residents are waiting on the Scottish Government reporter to rule on the Persimmon bid to build 169 more houses nearby.

Perth and Kinross councillors previously rejected the plan over worries sewage water could spill into Loch Leven.

Members of the Lathro Action Group argue the Persimmon Lathrow Meadows appeal should be thrown out in light of the sewage revelations contained in the emails.

Group spokesman Ken Whitcombe said: “We believe the new homeowners deserve very much better than this.

“It is time for some home truths.”

‘Raw sewage all over the car park’

Sewage problems have plagued Lathro Farm residents for a number of years.

Houses on the estate’s Dalwhamie St have sold for between £125,000 and £242,000.

Campaigners obtained emails between PKC officials, SEPA and Scottish Water discussing the long-standing problems.

One environmental health technical officer wrote that at least 50 properties did not have “adequate sewerage provisions”.

She described “raw sewage all over the car park area” on one street on the development.

‘Failing system’

The PKC official said the sewers were an “already failing system” in 2019.

The same official later wrote: “Persimmon have passed some technical reports on to us and on first glance it would appear there is an issue with the main sewerage pipe serving Dalwhamie Street.

“Evidence to suggest sub-standard materials used, cracking, movement, compression of pipe reducing the width by 5%.

“I am now seeking legal advice but it would appear that the sewerage is not fit for purpose and would need to be completely replaced.

“That means potentially 50+ properties do not have adequate sewerage provisions.”

The same official later investigated whether the local authority were able to prevent new residents from moving in and adding further load to the system, the emails show.

An NHS Tayside spokeswoman confirmed its public health team were notified of a case of E.coli in the Kinross area in early 2020.

She said: “The team worked with colleagues from PKC to investigate and no specific source of infection was identified.”


A Persimmon Home spokesman said the health and safety of their customers “is paramount”.

“We want to reassure everyone that no report of E. coli has been received from the relevant authorities.

“We apologise again for the problems caused by the drainage network and remain committed to completing the work required as soon as possible.”

A PKC spokesman said “it is the developer’s responsibility to design and construct the necessary site infrastructure.

“Given the acknowledged problems with that infrastructure, it is their responsibility to remediate and maintain the sewerage system until adopted by Scottish Water.

“The council takes all concerns relating to public nuisance or health issues seriously.

“However, following investigation no enforcement action has been required in relation to any claims made regarding Lathro Meadows.”

Root cause

A Scottish Water spokesman said Persimmon needed to complete “significant remedial work” at the site.

He said they found “the root cause” of spillage from the public sewer network “within the infrastructure”.

“That remains the responsibility of the developer of Lathro Meadows. We are doing all we can to ensure the situation is managed appropriately,” he added.