A project to replace a 90km fuel pipeline running from Fawley Oil Refinery near Southampton to Heathrow Airport is disrupting businesses in Four Marks.
The original Esso pipeline was built in 1972 but increasing maintenance led to a decision to replace it. Work has affected Bramdean, Ropley, East Tisted, Four Marks, Chawton and Alton.
Esso project executive Tim Sunderland said the new pipeline would carry the equivalent of 100 road tankers of fuel every day but heavy rain at the end of 2022 had made construction “challenging”.
Sarah Oppenheimer and her husband Bill run a horse livery and breeding business. Bill said: “In October they were digging on our land and they found an artefact, so they stopped work. There is a trench halfway across the area, mud in our yard and the drains are blocked. The pipe is still sitting on top of our land on its stand.
“When they built the first pipeline in the 1970s they started at one end and went straight through. Now it’s bits here and bits there. There seems to be no organisation. Reseeding has been postponed from spring until autumn so we have lost that ground until next year and we’re having to spend more on hay to feed the horses.”
Four Marks Golf Course manager Mandy Channon said: “I was originally told they were going to start in September and it would take a couple of weeks, maybe a month.
“The pipe has been in for a long time and covered up but no topsoil has been put on so it’s not been reseeded – that can’t be done until spring now. It will probably be another year before the course is back to how it was.
“The members and locals are still loyal but it’s totally ruined the golf side. Not many people are playing golf and new people who ring up are not interested. We usually stay open in the winter because we’ve got really good drainage but that’s not going to happen because we only have half a course. It’s been an absolute nightmare.”