VILLAGERS have complained that they still feel left in the dark over plans for a large new reservoir near Abingdon following a Thames Water information session over the scheme.

The proposed Abingdon Reservoir would cover farmland between Steventon, East Hanney and Drayton. It is being suggested as one of several options to meet future water shortfalls across the region, which are predicted to be as much as 1.1 billion litres a day by 2040.

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If given the go-ahead, the reservoir would be up to 15m high on a slope with a width of between 300 and 500m.

Despite a lack of detailed designs, the water company told householders at the drop-in session in Steventon that the "opportunities are there" for recreational facilities on the reservoir such as a sailing club and footpath.

Villagers, however, said they needed more information to make a decision and said they found the consultation over the plans confusing.

Herald Series: Abingdon Reservoir Land
Picture by Ed Nix

Vicki Midwinter said she was unaware of the plans when she bought her house and said that, even after the drop-in session, she had a lot of questions which had gone unanswered over recreational activities and public access and concerns over increased flood risk.

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Judith Keymer has lived in Steventon for six years. She said that when she moved to her home in Abbotts Meadow, she did not realise just how close she would be to the reservoir.

She raised fears for property prices in the area.

Oxfordshire county councillor Richard Webber said: "People are not just unhappy, but positively angry.

"I have heard from so many people that they do not understand the consultation, because every question is loaded."

Referring to the reservoir as a "moon crater", he said "It is not something I want to hand over to my grandchildren."

Herald Series: The borders of the land near Abingdon where Thames Water wants to build a reservoir. Picture: Google Maps

Nevil Muncaster, strategic resources director at Thames Water said recreational facilities would be built into the design and said the reservoir could bring money into the area.

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He said: "The design of the reservoir has not been set yet and we still have a number of options on size. At the moment the largest reservoir is being selected, but when we go through the detailed design process and the planning process, we will make sure we don't end up with large embankments right on people homes – that would be unacceptable."

Other options proposed instead of a reservoir include the transfer of water from other parts of the country and more recycling of waste water.

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