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Reservoir plan leads to construction traffic fears
VILLAGERS in Wheatley fear a new reservoir to serve people in East Oxford will mean hundreds of lorries passing their homes every week.
Thames Water has submitted the application to build the reservoir, measuring 40 metres by 40 metres, next to the existing Horspath reservoir.
The additional facility is designed to boost the water supply in the East Oxford area over the next 25 years.
According to the planning application submitted to South Oxfordshire District Council, the new concrete reservoir will be on Oxford City Council-owned that is designated under South Oxfordshire District Council’s Local Plan as Green Belt.
Wheatley councillor Janet Carr, who is also chairman of South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “This is a massive issue for the village because the latest reports we are getting suggest that there could be 85 vehicle movements a day (during the construction).
“Wheatley is the village in the area that will be most affected by this.”
Carole Newman, 67, of Littleworth Road, Wheatley, said: “People are not opposed to the reservoir, they are opposed to the traffic management plan, which suggests that lorries should go along Old Road to access Shotover Plain.
“Old Road is narrow and has houses on one side. The grass verges and people’s driveways will be badly eroded by the large volume of vehicles.
“Any objections to the proposal have to be submitted by July 18 and I don’t think the consultation period has been long enough. If the application is approved, work could start in August and then last for 10 to 14 months.”
Wheatley Parish Council chairman Ellie Stacey said residents were very concerned about Thames Water’s traffic plan.
Parish councillors discussed the issue at a meeting on Wednesday.
Mrs Stacey added: “The parish council has objected to the plan.
“We appreciate that there will not be intense traffic movements throughout the whole period, but there could be a big impact on the village.”
The application says current water storage deficiencies would be overcome by the construction of a new semi-underground reservoir cell, sampling system and associated pipework.
And it says the extended Horspath Reservoir will connect to the existing supply network, including Brase-nose and Shotover Reservoirs.
Thames Water spokesman Craig Rance said: “Letters were sent to residents who could be affected by an increase in site traffic inviting them to a drop in session held on June 18. It was also advertised in the Shotover Preservation Society newsletter, where we listened to concerns.
“The proposed storage reservoir would hold 6.6 megalitres of water for the surrounding area.
“On two occasions there would be increased vehicle movements of up to 65 lorries, but these will be exceptional cases when the concrete structure is being poured.”