Pub landlord in village with 'do not drink' notice says business is suffering

Chris Hardstone is the landlord of the Jolly Farmer in Bramley, near Guildford in Surrey
-Credit: (Image: © SWNS)

A pub landlord in a village affected by water contamination linked to a fuel leak claims the issue is scaring off patrons. Bramley, near Guildford in Surrey, has hundreds of residents who have been advised not to use their water supply due to contamination concerns.

Thames Water issued a precautionary 'do not drink' notice to 616 homes on Thursday. The company stated it had been conducting extra water sampling in Bramley since October last year "following a historical fuel leak from the village petrol station".

A statement read: "The do not drink tap water advice follows results received today indicating elevated levels of hydrocarbons." Chris Hardstone, landlord of the Jolly Farmer, claimed on Friday that he had been raising concerns about the fuel issue since 2021.

The 67-year-old has been running the pub with his brother Steve, aged 66, for 40 years. Chris revealed: "Back in 2021, our cellar just stank of fumes - and this petrol smell was wafting up into the bar."

"It took ages to get people to come and have a look, but when they did, we had people checking for gas leaks, for fire safety. We were told initially it was mould - but it wasn't of course. It was a leak from the petrol station."

Mr Hardstone said they had to shut down the hotel section of the pub as a result, leading to a loss in business. "These issues meant we had to close our accommodation section down - so we lost business there," he added.

"And of course, when word goes around that the local pub stinks of petrol, that affects business too." Bottled water stations have been set up in the village.

More than 600 households in Bramley have been warned not to drink tap water after Thames Water tests revealed hydrocarbons in the supply following a previous fuel leak
More than 600 households in Bramley have been warned not to drink tap water after Thames Water tests revealed hydrocarbons in the supply following a previous fuel leak -Credit:© SWNS

Locals have been asked not to use their water supply for drinking, cooking or brushing their teeth. However, they can continue to use the water to shower and wash hands, Thames Water said.

Tess Fayers, operations director for the Thames Valley and Home Counties said: "We are asking 616 Bramley properties not to drink the tap water following recent water sampling results." The health and safety of our customers is our number one priority, and we would like to reassure residents that this is a precautionary measure."

"We are in the process of delivering letters and bottled water to the affected properties." We are also identifying locations to set-up bottled water stations and we will share this information with our customers as soon as possible."

"We are already on site in the village proactively replacing sections of our pipes on Horsham Road to reduce the risk to our customers."

A Waverley Borough Council spokesperson, said: "We are working closely with Thames Water and other agencies to try and mitigate the impact on residents, and we will support residents wherever possible."

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."