Music festival cancelled after United Utilities sewage pipe bursts

The music festival was supposed to celebrate its tenth anniversary this year.
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A much-loved community festival has been cancelled this year after a sewage pipe burst at the event site. Waterloo Festival intended to celebrate it’s 10th anniversary this year but has had to announce the event has been cancelled and postponed to 2025 because of the damage done at the Crosby Coastal Path.

In a statement on Facebook, Waterloo Festival said: “BAD NEWS: The Waterloo Community Festival will not be taking place this year because the site we use in Crosby Coastal Park is in a terrible and unsafe condition caused by leaks in the sewerage pipes that run the length of the site and the damage caused by repair works undertaken by United Utilities. There is no certainty as to when the problems will be rectified and the site restored to a safe condition.”

The Local Democracy Reporting Service reported in January on the anger of local residents in Waterloo after the grassland at Crosby Coastal Path suffered significant damage due to ongoing work with the broken sewage pipes.

Grassland has become increasingly sodden and waterlogged due to the broken pipe and exacerbated by recent weather conditions. The repair work has been carried out by a contractor on behalf of United Utilities.

Despite Sefton Council providing ‘clear instructions’ for contractors to stay within a ‘designated area’, pictures from the scene show huge and muddy track marks running straight through the coastal path. Over three weeks later, the site looks even worse than before – appearing to render any events or leisure activities completely impossible.

Steve McGriskin is the organiser of Waterloo Community Festival which he’s had to cancel because of the sewer works and flooding. He said: “To see the site in such a terrible state of disrepair is truly awful. The fact United Utilities provide no time-line for a fix only exacerbates the frustration

“I asked the question last summer whether the pipework would be fixed by this year and was assured it would be. They’ve had such a long time to fix this problem but it looks like they’re getting nowhere.”

There has been a strong reaction to the news on social media with many local residents despairing at the condition of the grasslands and the loss of such an important cultural event for the area.

Damage caused to Crosby Coastal Path by repair works to a burst sewage pipe. Image: Elliot JessettDamage caused to Crosby Coastal Path by repair works to a burst sewage pipe. Image: Elliot Jessett
Damage caused to Crosby Coastal Path by repair works to a burst sewage pipe. Image: Elliot Jessett

However, Steve wants to clarify the problems have nothing to do with Sefton Council. He said “People should know that without the support of Sefton Council this festival would never have started. They have been such a huge help to us. This is all to do with United Utilities and their failure to get this job done.”

Sefton Council commented on the situation as echoed some of Steve’s sentiments. A spokesperson said: “It is disappointing to see the negative impact that this has had, not only on this important grassland habitat but also on the local community in the form of this cancellation. Green Sefton are working with partners to ensure the damage is repaired as soon as possible while protecting the natural flora.”

Pictures taken today show the current state of the grassland and the area specifically designated for the Waterloo Festival. Images show a waterlogged, sodden and muddy area with huge puddles and steel frame shields.

The LDRS visited the site with Steve who explained why he has had to cancel this year’s festivities: He said: “People come along to festival for a great day but it does take 12 months. Even if the problem was resolved tomorrow it’s too late for us.”

Fortunately, for Steve and all those hoping to attend next year’s event, the festival has confirmed it’s received Lottery grant funding for the festival’s tenth birthday and are now planning for a ‘bumper event’ in 2025. The hope is the grassland will be fixed by United Utilities in enough time.

Sadly, it is too late for this year’s festival and it appears there is a lot of work still to be done before a fix can be confirmed.

A United Utilities spokesperson said: “We are very sorry for the disruption in this area while our contractors have been carrying out repairs to a pipeline which has burst several times. We recognise the importance of this green space to the local community, so we are currently seeking approval for a project to replace the pipeline and we will continue to liaise with Sefton Council on progress.”