There are two new housing estates being built flanking the A3094 southern Salisbury bypass.

These houses are being built on a floodplain, which I have often seen underwater, and more and intense flooding is forecast.

So there is now talk of a pumping station being installed. Interestingly there was a sewage works there until the 1950s. It was on the left-hand side of the main road, on the rising ground, and treated sewage from Wilton.

It ran from Wilton under the meadows to a pumping station on Lower Road, Bemerton. I think the building is still there, now as a workshop.

There were two belt-driven ram pumps driven by two gas engines.

There were two operators, one of whom got caught up in the drive belt and sadly lost his life.

The sewage was then pumped across the valley, somewhere in the vicinity of Broken Bridges footpath to a sewage farm.

This consists of a series of channels, about two feet square in section, lined with loose bricks, and all very carefully graded so the sewage will flow properly. The works was situated on the slightly uphill area by the road.

The field was rented, and the attendant was supposed to keep the water channels clear.

He was too busy with other things and occasionally the road would become awash with sewage, the more liquid part, and this was a frequent problem. It was decided to pipe Wilton’s sewage to the new treatment works at Petersfinger.

This was constructed by the Corporation and was engineered by our City Engineer, Bill Goldfinch, and performed the increasing load faultlessly.

At a later date our water matters were controlled by South Wilts Water and later on by Wessex Water – a Malayan outfit.

On the subject of housing, I see that another attempt is being made to carpet over Old Sarum Airfield.

This would be quite wrong and would spoil this very historic area.

The new estates at Old Sarum aerodrome and Longhedge are not obtrusive and not too near.

John Watts

Winchester Street, Salisbury