Water firm wants to enlarge reservoir

PLANS to increase the size of an Essex reservoir have moved a step closer after its owner announced plans to forcibly buy land around the site.

Elliot Furniss

PLANS to increase the size of an Essex reservoir have moved a step closer after its owner announced plans to forcibly buy land around the site.

Abberton Reservoir, near Colchester, is owned and run by Essex and Suffolk Water and the company wants to enlarge the site by 58% by using an extra 1,260 hectares of land.

The water company already owns 98% of the space and has now applied to the Government for a compulsory purchase order for the remaining 25 hectares, which landowners are reluctant to sell.


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John Devall, Essex and Suffolk Water's operations director, said the enlargement of Abberton reservoir was “essential” to ensure Essex had a secure water supply for the 21st Century and beyond.

He said: “The project is the most sustainable option to secure water supplies from a social environmental, engineering and economic perspective.

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“There is a long history of discussion and negotiations with landowners affected by the proposals, which has enabled us to secure the vast majority of the additional land needed by negotiation.”

A planning application for the scheme was made to Colchester Borough Council in December last year and the compulsory purchase order has now been submitted to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The company claims the order is required to obtain the remaining land, which does not include any properties, and interests such as drainage rights and rights of way.

Stephen Miller, of Abberton and Langenhoe Parish Council, said there was little opposition among local people but a few landowners were still refusing to sell at the prices offered.

He said: “I would question why they (Essex and Suffolk Water) actually need the land.

“If it is to provide a much-needed and requested walkway and access to the reservoir, then I would be supportive.

“But this has been going on for 15 years. This isn't something that has just come up out of the blue. Ninety-five per cent of land owners have agreed to it and there's just one or two that have said 'no'.”

For further information on the scheme or to raise a query with the Abberton project team log on to Essex and Suffolk Water's website at www.eswater.co.uk.

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