Yorkshire Water's plans for decommissioning Harrogate reservoir

A Harrogate reservoir is to be retained as a water feature after an application to decommission and carry out demolition work on the site was approved.

The reservoir is used by anglers who have sole fishing rights on the reservoir
The reservoir is used by anglers who have sole fishing rights on the reservoir

Yorkshire Water’s application for Ten Acre Reservoir in Beckwithshaw was approved by Harrogate Borough Council planners, and will see the capacity of the reservoir dropped to 5,000 m3 after internal erosion was identified by the company. A report in 2016 said that ‘significant investment would be required to make the dam safe’, and instead recommended it be discontinued.

Built in 1875 the reservoir helped supply Harlow Hill Water Treatment works, which supplies water to Harrogate, Knaresborough and surrounding areas until changes saw Harlow instead supplied by other reservoirs such as Roundhill and Leighton.

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According to planning documents it will ‘retain its function as a water feature within the wider landscape setting.’

A spokesperson for the company said: “We are discontinuing the reservoir by reducing the capacity to 5,000m³. “One of the main benefits of keeping some water stored is that it will continue to support the bat population in the area which was identified during the investigation works. Water will continue to flow in to the reservoir from existing inlet on the south-eastern side of the reservoir and also from a new inlet which will be created on the south-western side.

On their way into the basin, the flows will pass through two existing naturally formed ponds in the basin, and a series of scrapes, which will create habitat for wading birds. “We’ve also created two new dragon fly ponds. We have no plans at present to seed the basin, as our experience is that normally natural vegetation will quickly take hold once the scheme is completed.”

The application also includes permission for Yorkshire Water to demolish the valve tower and ‘carry out significant alterations’ to the embankment.

The loss of the valve tower through the discontinuance scheme would be mitigated through a program of building, according to the application.

Construction of a new lower level stone-lined channel and steps down each side of the excavation from the existing crest level down to the new level of the spillway channel will also be carried out.

A design and access statement also says that there are two lease tenancies within the site. These are to graze sheep on the embankment, the other to anglers for sole fishing rights on the reservoir.

The YWS owned land immediately adjoining the reservoir site is leased to a local farmer for agricultural use. A consultation was carried out by the company, according to planning documents.