Controversial Portsmouth Water plans to go ahead after East Hampshire councillors give Havant Thicket reservoir the green light

A NEW reservoir development in Havant has been given the go ahead by district councillors, despite concerns voiced by members of the community.

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 1:38 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th June 2021, 3:35 pm

Portsmouth Water, which submitted the plans, welcomed the news and said the reservoir could ‘improve the lives of local people’.

East Hampshire District Council’s planning committee resolved to grant planning permission for Havant Thicket Reservoir at a meeting last night.

This decision comes after Havant Borough councillors approved proposals from Portsmouth Water for the site and plans for an associated pipeline last Thursday.

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Areas of Havant Thicket which could be impacted by the reservoir plans. Picture: Emily Turner

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Portsmouth Water says the reservoir is an environmentally-led scheme which will secure vital water supplies for the future, while protecting world-renowned chalk streams.

However, local eco campaigners say the reservoir could be ‘devastating’ to woodland, wildlife, and the wellbeing of the local community.

Bob Taylor, chief executive officer of Portsmouth Water, said: ‘It is great news that both Havant Borough and East Hampshire District’s planning committees have resolved to grant permission for our reservoir proposals – recognising the growing public need for reliable and resilient water resources and our ambitions and commitment to support the environment and communities.

‘As well as securing much-needed future water supplies, Havant Thicket Reservoir will help safeguard the River Itchen and River Test, two of Hampshire’s rare and world-famous chalk streams, by enabling less water to be taken from them. It will also create a new green leisure hub for people and wildlife.’

Councillor Clare Satchwell, cabinet lead for planning, Hayling seafront strategy and coastal management at Havant Borough Council, backed the proposal and said ‘it had been talked about in the borough since the 1960s’.

Councillor Angela Glass, head of planning at East Hampshire District Council, added: ‘The reservoir will secure more reliable water supplies for the region as a whole. It will also help cater for a growth in the population and housing and more droughts as a result of climate change.’

Legal commitments will now be finalised with the local authorities before full planning permission is granted.

Portsmouth Water says the reservoir is due to be completed and operational by 2029.

Mr Taylor added: ‘As the nature of the existing site will change, we’ve worked with environmental regulators to create an extensive programme to support the environment on and around the site.

‘This includes the creation and improvement of around 200 hectares of woodland and pasture to support wildlife, and the creation of a 10-hectare wetland on the reservoir’s northern shore, which will be a major boost for threatened bird species.

‘We remain committed to working with communities to make the very most of the reservoir’s potential to improve the lives of local people in particular – including opportunities for accessible leisure, education, sharing skills, creating jobs and supporting the local economy.’

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