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GIGANTIC RESERVOIR SCHEME
Three-Mile Lake Will Transform Colchester Country-side
ONE OF THE LARGEST IN SOUTH OF ENGLAND
Farms & Roads to Disappear
The South Essex Waterworks Company, with the object of supplementing their existing supply to densely populated districts in the southern portion of the county, particularly the Romford, Southend and London -over-the-Border areas, have launched a scheme of gigantic proportions, which will directly affect Colchester and definitely change the character of an extensive rural area to the south of the borough.
A Bill covering the purposes of the scheme has been prepared and the Company are seeking leave to introduce it before Parliament during the present session. Thus it must be realised that the scheme is in its initial stages and that whether it reaches completion as at present proposed is dependent on the necessary sanctions being forthcoming.
As is well-known, the Company have already constructed a huge reservoir and pumping station at Langham and a pipe-line to the main pumping station at Tiptree from whence the pipe-line continues to the south of the county. The new scheme provides for an additional pipe-line from the Stour at Stratford St Mary, through Dedham, Ardleigh, Colchester, Wivenhoe, East Donyland, Langenhoe, Abberton, Peldon, Layer, Birch, Layer Breton and Layer Marney, to Tiptree, where it will connect up with the existing system.
FOUR BORE HOLES
The existing supply from the Stour at Langham was provided by the Company under the powers conferred by their Act of 1928, which permitted them to take up to three million gallons daily from the River Stour. Apparently, that amount was found to be inadequate for the Company have since sunk four lore-holes, which are believed to be yielding something in the nature of five million gallons a day. A clause in the new Bill provides for confirmation of the construction of these bore-holes, pumping machinery, works and apparatus in the parishes of Langham and Boxted.
THIRTY- FIVE MILLION GALLONS A DAY
The new bill is also intended to give the Company powers to take a maximum of thirty-five million gallons daily from the Stour. As stated the intake will be at Stratford St Mary, with a pumping station near the old sugar beet factory.
THE ABBERTON RESERVOIR
The pipeline from the station will then pass through the Dedham and Ardleigh parishes to Colchester, which it will pass, within the borough boundary, on the east and south. It is proposed that the line shall pass underneath the railway line and the river at the Hythe, opposite the sewage works, and then run west to Rowhedge and along the north bank of the Roman River to a gigantic storage reservoir which will extend through portions of the parishes of Layer Marney, Layer Breton, Layer-de-La Haye, Great and Little Wigborough, Peldon and Abberton. The reservoir will be formed by the construction of a dam, 51 feet high, across Layer Brook, a tributary of the Roman River. Generally following the natural contours of the valley, the proposed reservoir will extend for about 3 ½ miles and have an area of about two square miles - undoubtedly it will be one of the largest reservoirs in the south of England. The dam will be situated near Badcocks Farm and adjacent to the road leading from Abberton to Layer, and the other extremity of the reservoir will be a point just beyond the Layer Breton-Salcot road.
The reservoir will affect three highways. A considerable length of the main Colchester-Layer-Tolleshunt D'Arcy Road will be submerged and it is proposed to replace it by the construction about 20 yards or so to the west of the existing road of a viaduct which will have no fewer than 17 arches.
Not only a roadway but extensive farm areas, buildings and dwellings will also disappear from mortal ken with the construction of the reservoir which, incidentally will have a maximum depth of 47 feet. Three farms - Butlers Farm, Parsonage Farm and Billets Barn - and part of Aldenham Oak Farm will be engulfed, while among the houses in the area of the proposed reservoir are Layer House and several cottages.
A pumping station beside the Abberton reservoir will transmit the water to filtration works situated a little to the south of Layer cross roads. There the water will be purified and then pass on to the Tiptree pumping station.
Provision is also made in the Bill for the construction of a reservoir or reservoirs in the parish of Ardleigh.
The Bill also provided for the supply of water in bulk to local authorities in the county of Essex who make the necessary reservation notices. Such supplies will be limited to1,600,000 gallons per day. Thus the scheme may materially assist in solving existing water supply difficulties in rural areas.
It is proposed to alter and redefine the terms on which water shall be supplied by the Company in bulk, under the Act of 1928, to the Maldon and Chelmsford District Councils.
In the case of Colchester, the fact that the pipe-line will pass through part of the borough will not mean that there will be an additional source of supply, if it was ever required, more or less on the town's doorstep. The water would not be purified until it reaches the filtration works near Layer cross-roads. Should Colchester ever find it necessary to seek a supply from the Company, it would either from Langham or Tiptree.
Among the land which the Company propose to utilise by way of acquisition or easement is War Department land and part of Layer Breton Heath.
They will also seek powers to enable them to take down and remove the pylons, electric lines and other works of the Central Electricity Board, situated on the lands to be acquired for the purpose of the Abberton reservoir.
Transcribed by Elaine Barker
Date: 12 December 1934
Photo: Mersea Museum - Joyce Golding
Image ID GAZ_1934_DEC12_001
Category 1 Places-->Peldon
This image is part of the Mersea Museum Collection.