Plans to build a water saving reservoir comparable to the size of Abingdon could see some villagers lose their homes.

The proposed Abingdon Reservoir, which would flood farmland between Steventon, East Hanney and Drayton, could help provide more than 100 million litres of water each day.

It would be used to store water from the River Thames which would be released back to the river when needed for abstraction locally and further downstream.

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However, new homes in Steventon, some built by developer David Wilson homes, sit on the edge of the proposed reservoir site.

Andy Cooke, Vale of White Horse District councillor for Drayton, said parts of villages on the perimeter of the reservoir could be underwater.

He said: “In Steventon I think there are a few houses that would have to be bought down and some roads will be underwater. In Drayton and Steventon, some of the houses would be in the shadow of the reservoir.”

Herald Series: Abingdon Reservoir Land
Picture by Ed Nix

He added: "The scale of it is glossed over. It would make Farmoor Reservoir look like a village pond in comparison. It would be the size of Abingdon itself."

Campaigners from campaign organisation Group Against Abingdon Reservoir (GARD) have been opposing the plans for a reservoir in Abingdon since 1996, when plans were first revealed.

Derek Stork from GARD is concerned that many new houses have been built close to the proposed perimeter of the reservoir.

He said: “I am not at all sure that some houses and developments now aren’t actually on the slope of the reservoir.”

Read also: District council object to Abingdon reservoir and say it will be "disruptive"

Thames Water has confirmed that some properties in the footprint of the reservoir would be directly affected if the project goes ahead. The water company has said that engagement with the land and property owners who would be directly affected is vital and something they are committed to making sure happens.

Some councillors also raised concerns that the wall of the reservoir would be more than 30 meters high and put houses in the shadow of the high structure.

However, Thames water has said the height of the embankments would vary from 15 metres to 25 metres depending on the ground level.

A Thames Water spokesperson said: “This would be a large infrastructure project and we recognise the concerns of neighbouring communities. The reservoir will be sensitively designed with careful landscaping to have a natural appearance, integrated into the wider landscape. It would provide opportunities to create a new landscape, support more diverse wildlife habitats than currently exist and provide recreational activities as well as other economic benefits. We’re committed to establishing an advisory group to work with us on the design and will be consulting extensively with local people and communities as part of the process.”

David Wilson Homes was approached for a comment but have failed to respond.

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