Northumbrian Water Q and A – 3rd October 2017

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Questions and Answers from Springwell Village Resident’s Association Meeting 03 October 2017

Has work already started on site?
There will be no work starting on construction of the reservoir until a planning application has been approved. A fence and gates have been installed to mark the boundary of the site and an existing water trough for horses relocated to the remainder of Hellens site.

Concern expressed about the height of the reservoir at the Mount Lane side, why can’t you dig deeper at top?
The reservoir needs to be located at a high elevation for there to be sufficient energy for the water to flow to the area to be served. For this reason the proposed reservoir cannot be constructed without some changes to the existing ground levels. However, the concerns over the proposed changes in ground levels will be taken into consideration during the design process.

Thought you wouldn’t be able to see the reservoir
The reservoir will be grass covered but the existing profile of the site will need to be altered as the site is not flat. There is a slope down the site towards Mount Lane so the top of the reservoir will need to be higher than the current ground level at the Mount Lane side. By grass covering the reservoir and adding planting to reduce the visual impact we hope that the changes will not adversely affect the character of the village. Photomontages will be developed to show how the proposed reservoir will look from different locations around the site.

Does Control building need to be located where it is indicated on the drawing?
The drawing indicates the approximate location that is most beneficial in terms of proximity to existing pipelines and ground levels.

Will excavated material be leaving the site and by what route?
The volume of clay and sandstone to be excavated for the proposed reservoir is too large to be retained on the site. Construction traffic will be routed from the A194(M) to the southern boundary of the village to minimise disruption. Construction traffic will not be passing through the village.

Will the access road be private?
Access to the reservoir will be restricted. Should the Hellens site receive permission to be developed then we would look to have the north – south portion of the access road adopted by Sunderland City Council.

Is there potential to make embankments more gentle by bring closer to road?
We have noted the residents concerns over the visual impact of the change in ground levels and will feed this back into the design to see if the impact can be reduced.

The new access looks too close to Broom Court and is on a blind bend
The highway authority specify the minimum distance from existing junctions and visibility requirements that must be met. We have assumed at this stage that the new road will need to be a minimum of 45 metres from the Broom Court junction. When the design is further developed the proposals will be forwarded to the highway authority for their approval.

Will all the existing hedgerows be cleared?
Creation of an additional access opening in the hedgerow may be required but there are no plans to remove the hedgerow.

How long will it take to build the reservoir?
It is anticipated that construction of the reservoir will take around eighteen months to two years to complete.

What is the difference in height between Fernhill Farm and bottom corner of the site?
The level in the north west corner of the proposed reservoir site adjacent to Fernhill Farm is around 145 metres (above ordnance datum) while the level at the southern boundary with Mount Lane is about 127 metres, approximately eighteen metres lower.

Where else has been considered for the reservoir?
The entire area meeting the criteria for potential location was assessed, leading to three main sites being identified for detailed review. This area extended to the west of Team Valley and up to the eastern boundary of Washington. The site at Springwell offered significant benefits in terms of the overall height of the site and proximity to population areas and the existing pipelines that would supply the reservoir.

Will there be anything other than grass around the reservoir?
We will look to add some planting to improve the appearance of the site and some areas will need to be fenced off for security reasons.

What effect will reservoir have on surface water drainage from adjacent site?
The design will include appropriate means of draining surface water and will not cause flooding of any adjacent land.

You have given Hellens access from Mount Lane
Hellens already had access to their land from Mount Lane through an existing gate near the south west corner of the site. As a condition of the land sale Northumbrian Water are required to provide access across the proposed reservoir site to allow Hellens onto the remainder of their land. This condition means that Hellens still retain an access to Mount Lane as they had previously.

Could the community use the land around the reservoir?
If the proposed reservoir is constructed there would be some areas of land around the margins of the site that could be used by residents.

Could residents develop proposals for community use that Northumbrian Water would pay for?
Yes, we would welcome any suggestions you have on development of a community resource.

What is area of flat roof of reservoir?
The design is not completed but is expected to be somewhere around 120 metres by 80 metres.

Will blasting be required for the excavation?
The ground beneath the soil layers is mostly sandstone which can be excavated using standard equipment (eg JCB type excavator). There should be no need to carry out any blasting.

How far down the planning process are you?
The planning process has only just started as we have only recently concluded the land purchase. We have notified Sunderland City Council of our intention to submit a planning application for construction of a service reservoir on the site.

Have you had feedback from the Council?
Sunderland City Council cannot comment until the planning application is submitted.

What is width of the access road, does it need to be so wide?
The portion of road heading north from Mount Lane is proposed to be 6.7 metres wide. This would allow the road to be suitable for adoption should housing be permitted on the Hellens site. Provision of an access road suitable for a potential housing development was a condition of the terms of sale for the land.

Was the land purchase done as a compulsory purchase or negotiated sale?
We contacted Hellens when we realised that they had purchased the site that we intended to buy. As Hellens agreed in principle to a land sale the sale terms were negotiated rather than a compulsory purchase.

Any potential to reduce height and visual impact
The height of the site is one of the key criteria for being able to support the water network. However, the residents comments on the visual impact have been noted and will be taken into account during the design process where we will try to reduce the visual impact as much as possible.

Can you provide photos of similar sites elsewhere?
Yes, we will provide some photographs to allow residents to visualise the proposed reservoir. We will also be creating photomontages from various locations around the site to show how the proposed changes will look.

If houses were built on Hellens site would you be able to see them over reservoir?
If houses were given permission to be built on the Hellens site they may well not be visible from Mount Lane but if the reservoir was also constructed this would provide some additional screening.

If you don’t get permission for reservoir would you look to sell land and could residents buy?
Northumbrian Water has purchased the land for the purpose of constructing a service reservoir. If we are unable to do that we would not have a use for the land and may look to sell it. There is no condition requiring re-sale to Hellens so residents could buy the land.

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