A FAMILIAR landmark at a Malvern Hills beauty spot could be radically altered if water company Severn Trent has its way.

The company wants to partially or completely drain its reservoir on the eastern slopes of the Herefordshire Beacon, which has British Camp, an Iron Age hill fort, at its summit.

The reservoir was originally built to supply Malvern with water, but has not been used for many years.

Severn Trent wants to dismantle the disused treatment plant at the foot of the dam, and cut a notch in the dam to allow the reservoir to be partially or wholly drained.

In the former case, the lake will be reduced in size from its current capacity of 213,000 cubic metres to leave what the company describes as a “residual pond” of 8,000 cubic metres.

In both cases, the site will be landscaped and “biodiversity enhancements” will be introduced.

The reservoir is within the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

As part of the process, Severn Trent has notified Malvern Hills District Council about its plans, and the council is expected to ask the company to carry out an environmental impact assessment (EIA) on the site.

Jonathan Bills, conservation manager of the Malvern Hills Trust, said: “British Camp reservoir falls under the jurisdiction of the Malvern Hills Trust, but the land is owned by Severn Trent Water and the reservoir and the area immediately surrounding it are under their sole management and control.

“The trust believes that, given the importance and popularity of the site, that an EIA should be undertaken by Severn Trent.”

A spokesman for Malvern Hills AONB said they will be considering the proposal and responding when appropriate.

A Severn Trent spokesman said: “The reservoir has been out of use for many years and we’ve been maintaining it at a reduced level for safety reasons.

“We’re now looking to remove the disused buildings at the site and return the land to nature. As such we’ve made an application to the local council to discontinue the site as a reservoir.”

What do you think about the plan?