The Garden Guide

Book: Landscape Planning and Environmental Impact Design: from EIA to EID
Chapter: Chapter 5 Reservoir planning and design

Grafham Water

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As in the case of mountain reservoirs, landscape planners have generally adopted a conservation approach. The first project of this type was Grafham Water, constructed between 1962 and 1966. At the time of its completion Grafham Water, 'with its sailing clubhouse, slipways, and dinghy park, its nature reserve, its provision for anglers, and the three public recreational areas around the perimeter', was considered to be 'the most accessible of reservoirs' (Rydz 1971). It was also the first in Britain on which a landscape consultant was appointed ï¾­ though the scheme's promoters requested a public inquiry to challenge the planning authority's right to impose landscape conditions. The promoters were worried about 'endless delays', excessive costs and the possible conflict between ideas about 'beautiful structures' and 'engineering considerations'. In reality, good EID prevents delays. Adrian Montague, as architect and landscape consultant for the scheme, aimed to 'retain the rural character of the scene' and produce the impression of a reservoir surrounded by wellï¾­wooded farmland. He also planned the car parks to have good views of the water but there has been public criticism of the fact they are large exposed rectangles of tarmac (Conversation 1979).