The Canal and River Trust charity, which owns the site, has submitted the plans to High Peak Borough Council, seeking permission to replace the 1970s-built spillway which was damaged following several days of heavy rain in 2019, with a new overflow structure to the north of the dam which will funnel away excess water when the reservoir is full.
The application includes building a new overflow side channel weir, ‘tumble bay’, spillway channel and stilling basin which links to the existing bypass channel before flowing into the River Goyt in the town’s Memorial Park.
It also includes a proposal to replace the current sailing club facilities, which will be impacted by the new spillway. Plans feature a new clubhouse, boat storage, slipway and car park, located on a site behind the proposed tumble bay.
The repair project is estimated to cost in the region of £12 million - £16 million. Subject to planning permission, work is due to start in spring 2022 and is expected to take about two years to complete, with the reservoir re-opening to the public in summer 2024.
The trust said feedback from two public consultations influenced several design features to reduce the visual impact of the new concrete structures. These include the addition of natural stone cladding to most exterior side walls above ground level and ensuring wall heights are kept as low as possible. Locals also said they wanted to see water constantly flowing down the spillway channel instead of it being predominantly dry and this has been achieved by connecting the top of the tumble bay into the existing reservoir bypass channel.
The 1970s overflow spillway overlooking the park, which was damaged in summer 2019, will be de-commissioned, the concrete panels removed and the dam slope grassed over. The original 1840s spillway, near the existing sailing club, will also be removed and some of the stone reclaimed and re-used as cladding on the exterior walls of the new structures.
Daniel Greenhalgh, Canal & River Trust North West director, said: “We are very grateful to everyone who has given feedback or attended our public consultations in September 2020 and June this year. We have also had extensive discussions with local residents, particularly those nearest the site, and have tried to adapt our plans and designs to cause the least disruption and inconvenience.
“We recognise the repair work will cause disruption for some residents, particularly those living nearby, and we will do our very best to mitigate noise and inconvenience as far as we are able. We thank everyone for their patience and support over the last two years. Plans for the permanent repair design have been guided by modern engineering best practice and shaped by local feedback. Public safety is our top priority.
“Restoring Toddbrook is vital to ensure the long term viability of the Peak Forest and Macclesfield canals. We look forward to completing this challenging engineering project so we can again rely on its essential water supply and for the beautiful reservoir to be re-instated for the benefit of everyone in Whaley Bridge. ”