Surrey Village Pub Suffers Amid Water Contamination Crisis

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A pub landlord in Bramley, a village near Guildford in Surrey, claims his business is suffering due to a water contamination issue that has prompted a ‘do not drink’ notice.

Hundreds of residents have been advised against using their tap water following concerns linked to a historical fuel leak from the village petrol station.

Thames Water issued the precautionary ‘do not drink’ notice to 616 homes on Thursday, after detecting elevated levels of hydrocarbons during water sampling. Chris Hardstone, landlord of the Jolly Farmer, has been vocal about the issue, which he claims has been ongoing since 2021.

Hardstone, who runs the pub with his brother Steve, stated, “Back in 2021, our cellar just stank of fumes – and this petrol smell was wafting up into the bar.” Despite raising concerns, it took a long time for the issue to be addressed properly. Initially misattributed to mould, the true cause was eventually identified as a fuel leak from the local petrol station.

The contamination has forced the Jolly Farmer to close its accommodation section, leading to significant business losses. “These issues meant we had to close our accommodation section down – so we lost business there,” Hardstone explained.

Thames Water is responding by delivering letters and bottled water to affected properties and setting up bottled water stations. Tess Fayers, operations director for the Thames Valley and Home Counties, reassured residents that the ‘do not drink’ notice is a precautionary measure and that they are working to mitigate risks by replacing sections of pipes on Horsham Road.

Waverley Borough Council is collaborating with Thames Water and other agencies to support residents.

An Asda spokesperson said: “We are continuing to work closely with Thames Water and other partners to address the issues we inherited after acquiring the Bramley PFS site. We recognise the impact this has had on the residents of Bramley and share their frustrations.”

“We are committed to working with all parties to resolve this situation as quickly as possible.”

The areas MP, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has called the situation ‘unacceptable’ and has written to Chris Walker, MD of Asda Express voicing his concerns and asking the supermarket chain to support the small independent high street shops and pubs which are suffering extensive damage to their day-to-day trade.

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