New chief operating officer, Steve Spencer, has announced that Thames Water will build its first new sewage works in nearly 15 years. The project will be located in Guildford, Surrey.

Former chief delivery officer, Spencer took over from Lawrence Gosden, who moves into a new asset management director role at the company for the next 12 months. Both remain on the Thames Water executive team.

Earlier in the year, after shadow chancellor John McDonnell outlined plans to renationalise the water industry, Thames Water added nationalisation clauses to some of its bonds.

Spencer signed the deal for the development with Guildford Borough Council on 3 June. The company says that the new modern facility will cater for the area’s growing population, eradicate odour, and improve the local environment. The works will take place on brownfield land, with Guildford Council using the existing site for local housing.  

Thames Water’s agreement with Guildford Borough Council is part of the Weyside Urban Village development, which will help develop 41 hectares of brownfield land for the development of 1,500 new homes. The Surrey town’s population is set to rise by more than 20,000 to 167,000 by 2034.

Spencer commented:“We’re delighted to be involved in this regeneration project working with Guildford Borough Council to boost the town and local area.

“The new sewage works will not only allow the development of Weyside Urban Village but will also have real benefits for our customers and businesses for generations to come. With the combination of climate change and population growth, modern facilities like the one planned for Guildford will help us meet future challenges across London and the Thames Valley head-on.”

Ian Marchant, interim executive chairman, added: “I am delighted with their appointments. They bring a wealth of industry experience to their roles. We’re all fully committed to our proposed business plan for 2020-25, focused on providing industry-leading customer service through a substantial investment programme.”

Thames’ original business plan was one of four placed in the “significant scrutiny” category by Ofwat at the end of January as part of this year’s price review. The company submitted a revised plan on 1 April.

The UK’s biggest water and wastewater services provider, Thames Water says that over the last 13 years, on average, it has invested £1 billion annually into improving service.

At the end of May, Thames Water chief executive, Steve Robertson, stepped down from his position. A replacement has yet to be announced. Earlier in the month, the company celebrated the milestone of helping 250,000 homes save water as part of their smarter home visit scheme.