SOUTH West Water's offer of £5,000 to an Exeter community whose summer was blighted by stench has been described as 'better than nothing' by city MP Ben Bradshaw.
Mr Bradshaw chaired a meeting organised for residents by SWW to explain the reasons for the stench from the sewage works that affected the Countess Wear area in particular this summer.
Following the meeting the MP said: "It's a small gesture but better than nothing.
"The most important thing is that SWW resolves these stench problems once and for all.
"Local people in Countess Wear have put up with smells for years, but this summer has been intolerable and their lives have been made a misery."
Mr Bradshaw added: "An apology and small community grant are all well and good, but local people want the problems sorted.
"There was a lot of anger still at the meeting.
"It appears the stench is not just from the sewage plant but because of a defective private sewage pumping station on the new Persimmon housing estate and cracked or leaking pipes that run through Countess Wear from that to the sewage plant.
"This problem also requires SWW's urgent attention.
"I have written to the company's chief executive accordingly following the meeting."
According to Lesley Robson, city councillor for the ward, about 200 people attended the meeting at which representatives of SWW apologised for the problem and explained what went wrong.
According to a spokeswoman the problem was an unfortunate combination of break-downs, involving large pieces of kit which could not be mended immediately.
This caused a build up of sludge in the primary tanks which started to smell.
The spokeswoman added: "We are currently undertaking a big development which co-incidentally involves a new sludge processing unit which will be enclosed and odour controlled and should prevent any repeat of what happened."
Residents were less than enthusiastic about the offer after the Echo posted the story online.
Siobhan Ward said: "Hope this applies to the Rydons as well, as the smell is disgusting. I can smell it in the kitchen sinks and downstairs toilet."
Mick Burch said: "Having lived in Countess Wear for very many years South West Water have repeatedly promised an improvement but the problem remains.
"Some years ago I witnessed fluids being pumped directly into the river. I wonder if this still continues. The stench this year has coincided with the good summer."
A list of ideas on what the money could be spent will be included in the next newsletter from the ward's Labour councillors and residents will be asked to vote for their favourite.
The newsletter should be dropping through letter boxes towards the end of October.
Residents are welcome to suggest their own ideas and can do so by calling Councillor Lesley Robson on 01392 221369.
Because it was likely that not everyone who had been affected could attend the meeting, SWW is to station a customer service caravan by Glasshouse Lane shops on October 15 and 16.
The caravan will be on site from 10am to 6pm on both days for residents to talk to members of SWW's waste water staff.