A parish council responsible for a Doomsday Book village beset by smells of raw sewage has hit out at Yorkshire Water for failing to tackle the issue.

Residents of Topcliffe, near Thirsk, and its parish council said despite having repeatedly alerted the utility firm over several years to the frequently intolerable situation which has affected their homes no effective action has been taken and claim it is due to Yorkshire Water putting its shareholders before its customers.

The criticism that the firm is not investing sufficiently in infrastructure is just the latest of similar claims being levelled at the firm which paid more than £60m in dividends to its parent companies last year after reporting a statutory profit of £544m in 2022/23.

In May, Yorkshire Water apologised over high levels of sewage being discharged into rivers and the sea and revealed plans to invest £180m by March 2025 to build more capacity to store wastewater.

Topcliffe Parish Council’s chairman, Councillor Jamie Moores, said the authority had received numerous apologies and promises from Yorkshire Water that the issue related to a sewage pumping station would be mitigated, the pledges had all been followed by “failure to act with further promises of action”.

He said: “I do not find this acceptable at all. Yorkshire Water is treating its customers with contempt and it is clear to me that action is long overdue.”

Resident Andrew Eckersley said he and his neighbours in the Front Street area suffered the stench of raw sewage bubbling up through the drains into their homes every time Yorkshire Water decided to pump out its sewage holding tank, which could be several times a week.

He said while in the past expensive chemicals had been added to the raw sewage at the Topcliffe pumping station to mitigate the odours, Yorkshire Water had stopped doing so.

Mr Eckersley said: “The smells have got worse and worse since Yorkshire Water took ownership of the pumping station about ten years ago and they have spent no money on it and given every reason under the sun for the smells, but have never sorted the issue.

“Over lockdown, it was horrendous as everyone was stuck at home. Yesterday it was so repulsive I could not stay in my house, so I had to stand in the rain.

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“Yorkshire Water keep promising to get the issue sorted, but what they don’t realise is the misery they are inflicting on people every time they delay works.”

A Yorkshire Water spokesman said the firm understood “how distressing odours from the sewer network can be for local residents” and that it would be carrying out investigation work next week to begin the process of upgrading the pumping station.

He added: “Since customers and Topcliffe Parish Council first contacted us about this issue we have tried to keep them regularly updated on progress and have implemented a range of measures, including flushing the rising main and chlorine dosing, to alleviate the odour problems.”