A PENSIONER says his house has been left unsaleable because of an ongoing sewage problem in Micklefield which swamps around 14 homes.

Peter Whitelock, 78, says the problem needs to be tackled sooner rather than later, after Thames Water told residents it couldn't fix the problem until 2010 at the earliest - and was going to cost £6million.

Around 14 homes which lie in the lower end of Micklefield Road have their driveways swamped by foul sewage during downpours, as a large number of other homes in the area are attached to the wrong sewer.

These homes have their rainwater drains wrongly connected to the area's foul sewer, which is toilet waste, when they should be connected to the storm sewer, which handles rainwater.

Thames Water says this causes the foul sewer to become overwhelmed with rainwater during downpours - causing an overspill which flows downwards towards lower Micklefield Road.

Mr Whitelock, who lives in one of the homes affected, also blamed Wycombe District Council which he says is increasing the strain on the sewage system by permitting too many developments.

He said: "There is something like 80-90 houses going up in this road and our houses are not saleable now - no one has put a thought to that. If I wanted to move to a small bungalow I wouldn't be able to do that because no one would want to buy it.

"They are giving planning permission on a road which is already flooding out."

A Thames Water survey was carried out on Mr Whitelock's home last week, as it bids to find temporary solutions to the problem.

But Mr Whitelock, who is leading a band of residents, said they are going to start their own campaign unless the problem is sorted out soon. This could include complaining to Ofwat, the water watchdog.

The area's foul sewer serves around 4,000 properties but Thames Water says it doesn't know specifically how many are incorrectly fitted. The storm sewer located on public highway is owned by Bucks County Council, while the foul sewer is the responsibility of Thames Water. If residents wanted their drains redirected to the storm sewer, this would be of their own expense as it is not Thames Water land.

Dan Taylor, spokesman for Thames Water, said: "All instances of sewer flooding are regrettable. Thames Water is well aware of the impact on our customers, and we are doing all we can to deal with the problem in Micklefield Road.

"Unfortunately, the only long-term solution to the problem is an engineering one, requiring significant capital investment.

"All our capital investment projects need to meet strict Ofwat cost-benefit criteria, and are approved as five year programmes. The current programme runs until 2010. We hope to deliver the proposed solution for Micklefield Road as part of the 2010-15 programme, subject to Ofwat approval.

Becky Wotherspoon, spokesman for the district council, said it consulted widely in preparation for new developments - including with service providers such as Thames Water regarding foul sewage.

She added: "The council determines individual planning applications for new development in accordance with government advice regarding new development and flood risk."