Residents want more facts and fear property market blight over new reservoir plans

More facts and less ‘politician speak’ are needed on plans for a Lincolnshire reservoir, residents say.

Friends Miss Gay Tunnicliffe and Stuart Hewitt-Hall are undecided on the plans
Friends Miss Gay Tunnicliffe and Stuart Hewitt-Hall are undecided on the plans

Anglian Water has held its first consultation on the proposals for land south of Sleaford.

Dozens of people attended the meeting in Scredington, which would be just outside of the land which would be flooded.

Those who face losing their homes and farms are determined to continue fighting the plans.

Adam Speed, stakeholder engagement lead at Anglian Water, says the company is keen to listen to views.

However many say they need more information before they can make up their minds.

Anglian Water have promised to take residents’ views on board as they fine-tune the plans across several years of consultation.

Stuart Hewitt-Hall, who lives in Helpringham, said: “There’s a lot of speculation going around and not enough facts.

“Of course it could bring muck and noise, but in the long-run it could also be a big asset to the area. It’s hard to be sure at this point.

“I’ve just moved from a village than was in the path of HS2, so this isn’t new to me.”

Miss Gay Tunnicliffe lives on the eastern edge of the plans. She came to the consultation to find out whether her house could be affected, and was relieved it doesn’t appear to be.

“My house is right on the edge of the grey area in the plans. The houses across the road got a letter to say that they could be compulsory purchased, but it looks like I’ve got lucky,” she said.

Housing prices were a key concern for many people.

A Scredington couple said: “Our house is on the market, but all of the fear-mongering around the reservoir means it might never sell and we could be stuck here.

“I know of one lady who hasn’t had any viewings since the reservoir was announced.

“We’re not opposed to the reservoir, but we need to know how it will affect us. Otherwise, Scredington could end up with a situation where no one can ever move out and no one will move in.”

Nicola Mason said: “We moved into the village two years ago and have spent a lot of money doing our house up – will that value be wiped off?

“These plans are only outlines – I’m worried they will change in the future and encroach on the village more.”

Naomi Ellis said the plans would “completely rip the village apart.”

“We’re a very close community, and will lose key members who will have to move. The village will never be the same again.”

Hannah Thorogood, who faces losing the Inkpot Farm she runs, said there needed to be more clarity on plans.

“There has been a lot of ‘politician speak’ and questions they can’t answer yet. People want clear facts,” she said.

“They want to know what will happen to the infrastructure and exactly how many jobs for local people will be created – I can’t imagine it’s many compared to those supported by the farms which are being lost,” she said.

A local nurse practitioner who hadn’t made up her mind yet said: “If it attracts tens of thousands of visitors as Rutland Water does, I’m concerned about the impact of cycling and sailing accidents – our healthcare system is already on the brink.”

Adam Speed, the Stakeholder Engagement Lead for Anglian Water, said the project was crucial for the area as it faced less rain and a growing population.

“This will help deal with the impact of climate change, but can also deliver opportunities for the area like leisure, infrastructure, jobs and tourism,” he said.

“We are listening carefully to what people tell us and want to take that local knowledge on board.

“The reservoir – and another one being planned in Cambridgeshire – will bring benefits for the whole of Lincolnshire.”

The first round of consultation will last until December 21. Comments can be emailed to [email protected] or through www.lincsreservoir.co.uk.

Future rounds will be held until 2025, when the plans are submitted to governments.