Emerging designs for East of England reservoirs

“These nationally significant projects could bring major benefits to both local areas and wider region, as well as securing water supplies for the future. The emerging designs seek to deliver opportunities that could improve quality of life and protect and support the environment.”
Charles Crawford, Director, LDA Design

Emerging designs by LDA Design and Fereday Pollard for new reservoirs in north Cambridgeshire and in south Lincolnshire have been released by Anglian Water and Cambridge Water in support of engagement with local communities.

The East of England is facing growing challenges to water supply from both population growth in the region and a changing climate. Projections from the Met Office show that the East of England will become hotter and drier in summer, and wetter in winter, meaning that there is a pressing need to store winter water to cope with summer droughts.

Unless bold action is taken, the demand for water will outstrip the available supply within the next decade, making the reservoir projects vital for the continued growth and prosperity of the region.

The proposed new reservoirs are planned to help secure water supply and strengthen resilience to drought, while also protecting the environment by enabling a reduction in the amount of water taken from environmentally sensitive rivers and underground aquifers. 

Masterplanned by LDA Design and Fereday Pollard, the reservoirs in the Fens and Lincolnshire are also designed to deliver a wide range of benefits for biodiversity, recreation, and health and wellbeing. They apply the National Infrastructure Commission’s good design principles. Clare Donnelly, Director at Fereday Pollard, says the aim is to deliver positive outcomes for climate, people and places, and the emerging designs reflect feedback from the surrounding communities. 

In the Fens
The reservoir in the Fens proposed by Anglian Water and Cambridge Water is near to the market towns of Chatteris and March and set within the distinctive fenland landscape. It is designed to hold about 55 million cubic metres of water and could serve up to 250,000 homes a year.

All landscapes evolve, but the Fens had a dramatic transition when the wetlands were drained in the 17th century for arable farming. The bold and distinctive design of the reservoir is inspired by ammonite fossils found below the site during excavation, and dating from a time when the land was under the North Sea.

Reservoir as destination and treasured local asset - a visualisation of the proposed Fens Reservoir

The sculpted embankments and landforms, built from the soil excavated to create the reservoir, will create a rich and unique setting where people, nature and water come together. The design could provide opportunities for recreation both on the water and land, including the potential for new walking, cycling and horse-riding routes with connections to neighbouring communities, and an internal lagoon for water sports and other visitor facilities.

Calmer and quieter spaces wrap around the edges providing extensive wetlands and interconnected habitats and areas for flood storage,  reminiscent of the historic landscape of marshes and waterways.

In Lincolnshire
Anglian Water has also shared emerging designs for a second reservoir in Lincolnshire, south-east of Sleaford and nestled between historic fen-edge settlements of Helpringham, Scredington and Swaton.

This reservoir could provide a secure water supply for up to half a million homes a year. It is a similar scale to the Fens reservoir and designed to again hold 55 million cubic metres of water.

The design will sit sensitively in the landscape, using a naturalistic form organised around a central peninsula. The shape is designed to blend with shallow ridges in the landscape, marking the transition between the limestone uplands to the west and the flat fenlands to the east.

The reservoir will provide a rich and immersive environment. The design features a series of lagoons where water levels can be controlled, providing large wetland areas and new habitats, and dedicated space for water-based recreation. The embankments and land around the reservoir will include nature trails, cycling and horse-riding routes which connect with neighbouring communities.

The second phase of consultation on the reservoirs continues until August 9th. Feedback is being widely sought on the emerging designs and the associated water infrastructure to fill the reservoirs, treat the water, and supply it to homes and businesses.

Header image: 3D view of the Fens Reservoir. The design is inspired by ammonite fossils found below the site during excavation. All images credit LDA Design 

Other news

This site uses cookies Here’s why and how you can opt out.