January 9, 2024

Development plans revealed for Fens Reservoir and Lincolnshire Reservoir

Holmes & Hills specialist DCO and compulsory purchase solicitors have been made aware of plans to create two new reservoirs: Fens Reservoir and Lincolnshire Reservoir.

Plans for two major new reservoirs in the East of England are underway. A first round of public consultation has been completed in relation to both the proposed Fens Reservoir on land north of Chatteris (promoted by Anglian Water and Cambridge Water) and the proposed Lincolnshire Reservoir on land south east of Sleaford, between Grantham and Boston (promoted by Anglian Water alone). These proposals anticipate the delivery of two new reservoirs each of approximately 5km2 in size holding up to 50 million cubic metres of usable water. The promoters see delivery of the planned new reservoirs as a key milestone towards their strategic aim to secure a resilient water supply to meet the Region’s future needs.

Further rounds of public consultation are planned for both reservoir projects through the course of 2024 and 2025 and it is currently anticipated that applications for development consent orders (DCO) to authorise the construction and use of the new reservoirs will be made to the Planning Inspectorate in 2025. The DCOs, if confirmed in due course, will also authorise the use of compulsory acquisition powers to enable the promoters to acquire the land necessary to deliver each scheme, with construction anticipated to commence in both cases after 2029.

On current plans, it appears that a number of residential properties and non-agricultural business properties will be affected by these proposals. Once the DCO applications have been submitted, qualifying landowners who meet certain statutory criteria may be able to serve a blight notice requiring the promoter to purchase their properties ahead of formal confirmation of the proposals. The publicity around these major proposals may however be impacting on the ability of some affected landowners to sell their property now – ahead of the time when they would be able to serve a statutory blight notice. The promoters have recently announced plans in relation to both schemes to introduce a Property Support Scheme which could offer support to homeowners who would like to sell their properties before each project has consent and site assembly starts in earnest; details of this scheme are being developed and the promoters have promised to share further information in this regard during the next consultation round.

Holmes& Hills LLP has a dedicated team of solicitors with experience of handling blight notice and discretionary purchase applications on behalf of landowners nationwide. If you are concerned about how either of these projects may affect your property interests, please get in touch for some preliminary advice.

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