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Ardleigh Reservoir

Colchester, Essex

Ardleigh Reservoir

Liz Lake Associates helped to prepare a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment in support of a planning application for an extension to Ardleigh Reservoir and associated mineral extraction, including the creation of a new public open space. The proposals include plans to form a new reservoir which is nine metres deep and has a water storage capacity of 1,700,000 cubic metres.

Following the gravel extraction, there will be the creation of a small country park, managed for informal recreation including nature conservation where contextually appropriate; habitat creation comprised an important part of the proposals. The planting strategy aims to reinforce the existing green framework around the perimeter of the site and to successfully integrate the new reservoir into the landscape. This approach dovetailed with the phasing of mineral extraction, to achieve three interim restoration phases which protect and retain the main internal landscape until such time as the land owner has commenced construction of the reservoir. On completion, the reservoir will be managed by Anglian Water and will supply water to keep the adjacent reservoir topped up. The design of the completed reservoir provides substantial additional landscape areas as well as other habitat to improve the overall biodiversity. The reservoir and surrounding land will have open public access, thereby providing an additional recreational resource close to Colchester.

Gravel extraction is well underway. This application enabled the mineral resource to be released in a sustainable manner providing a windfall contribution to the overall supply to this part of Essex. The reservoir extension will be available by 2025 as identified in the Water Strategy for the Anglian Region.