Plans for new Somerset reservoir approved

Plans have been approved for a new reservoir on 208-hectares of mainly farmland near Cheddar in Somerset.

A visualisation of the proposed reservoir (pic courtesy Bristol Water)
A visualisation of the proposed reservoir (pic courtesy Bristol Water)

The hybrid application, submitted to Sedgemoor District Council in December 2013, sought detailed planning permission for the construction of a reservoir on land to the south west of Cheddar village and to the south of the existing Cheddar Reservoir, and outline planning permission for the erection of associated infrastructure and amenity buildings as well as works to the Cheddar Yeo river along its course through Cheddar.

According to a planning report, the total site area is approximately 208 hectares, within which the footprint of the reservoir embankments would be approximately 97 hectares.

The development would involve the loss of approximately 160 hectares of land from agricultural use.

The report said the proposal was in line with local and national planning policy and would address a "strategic need for future water supply as well as new and enhanced recreational facilities, and will provide habitat and landscape enhancements".

"In addition the development seeks to manage and where appropriate mitigate the impacts in respect of ecological matters, the local and strategic highway network, residential amenity, the local economy, cultural heritage, hydrology and flood risk and other environmental matters", the report said.

The utilities firm behind the plans, Bristol Water, said it welcomed the decision by the council’s planning committee to vote "overwhelmingly in favour" of the scheme, subject to the completion of a Section 106 agreement and planning conditions.

It said: "The company believes that the £125m reservoir, if built, will provide a much needed new source of water in Somerset – as well as being of enormous long term recreational and conservation benefit. However, there is still a long way to go before any construction, as the investment must also secure regulatory approval from Ofwat".

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