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Is South Holland getting a massive £985million reservoir?

Coun Nick Worth.
Coun Nick Worth.

A massive reservoir costing just under a billion pounds could come to South Holland on land between Deeping St Nicholas and Tongue End.

Proposals for a local reservoir of approximately 50,000ML (million litres) are contained in documents produced by Anglian Water, who say “the South Lincolnshire Reservoir option is located south west of Spalding”.

Coun Eddy Poll.
Coun Eddy Poll.

Anglian Water is reviewing seven locations “with two preferred options in South Lincolnshire and Fenland (the Lincolnshire Fens)”.

But Market Deeping town councillor Adam Brookes has studied the water company’s documents and pinpointed the south west of Spalding site to a spot between Deeping St Nicholas and Tongue End.

A spokesman for Anglian Water says the company isn’t ruling out Deeping St Nicholas/Tongue End “but it’s not possible to say which of the seven locations will be geologically viable so it’s wrong to speculate”.

Coun Brookes revealed the water company’s plans online on April 1, saying the reservoir will have the same amount of water as that contained in about 20,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools and cost between £624million and £985million.

MP John Hayes.
MP John Hayes.

The local reservoir would be a little smaller than Grafham Water, near Huntingdon, which contains around 60,000ML – by comparison, Rutland Water contains around 120,000ML.

Coun Brookes says the Deeping St Nicholas/Tongue End reservoir would be formed by building large embankments to enclose an area, perhaps similar to Covenham Reservoir, and a new pipeline will be needed to service it with water from the River Witham near Boston.

He also says it will serve Corby, Kettering, Peterborough and Northampton, which will also involve a new pipeline going south from the reservoir towards Peterborough, passing close to Deeping.

Coun Brookes says building work could start in 2025.

He has called for Anglian Water to demonstrate that the Deeping St Nicholas/Tongue End site would be safe, and also comments on “a significant loss of agricultural land, impact on the landscape and disruption during construction”.

Initial reactions are mixed.

Coun Nick Worth, deputy leader of South Holland District Council, said a traditional reservoir would have a positive impact on tourism in South Holland but one built above ground (with embankments) would not be “the nicest thing to look at”.

South Holland and the Deepings MP John Hayes said: “They (Anglian Water) have not discussed it with me and, if they want to get my support, they need to – they would only get my support if it offered some direct benefit to the area beyond the obvious one.

“Local people are the answer to these things, whatever is built has got to be right for them and has got to ensure their interests and wishes are met.”

County councillor Eddy Poll, a member of the executive, says he’s pleased Anglian Water is prepared to act over the shortage of water supplies.

He said: “The location published is solely one possibility – we are in discussions to find the best location that delivers the most benefits to the widest number of people.”

A statement from Anglian Water said: “Our region has a rapidly growing population, it is home to vital industry and agriculture which all needs water to function, and it’s also very dry – receiving about half the amount of rain compared to the rest of the UK. That means we need to plan ahead to ensure there is enough water to go around, both for us today and for future generations.

“In our recently published Water Resources Management Plan, which looks 25 years ahead, we explain how we’ll go about balancing this demand and supply of water in future decades. To do that we’re looking at a range of options, including the possibility of a new reservoir in the South Lincolnshire and Fenland area.

“While we give indicative estimates of size and cost in our Technical Plan, at this very early stage we do not have a precise location for the reservoir as we are yet to complete the geological survey work. We’re currently reviewing the suitability of seven locations, with two preferred options in South Lincolnshire and Fenland.

“Equally, while the start date is likely to be more than a decade away, of course with a project of this scale we would speak to people early on, well in advance of any spades breaking ground.”

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