£16m repair plan announced for Whaley Bridge's Toddbrook Reservoir

A permanent repair plan for Whaley Bridge’s Toddbrook Reservoir has been announced.

The Canal & River Trust, which owns the reservoir, said the final plan, which will see a new side channel weir, ‘tumble bay’, spillway channel and stilling basin being built on the northern side of the dam, was selected from two options which went out for public consultation last year.

Daniel Greenhalgh, Canal & River Trust North West Director, said: “This is a significant milestone as we can now start planning for the repairs now we know where the new slipway will be.

"This repair project may cost up to £16m and as we own the reservoir we will be funding it. I want to assure everyone we are putting safety at the very heart of what we are doing and want to make the reservoir safe and secure for future generations.”

Artist impression of the reservoir and dam from the Memorial Park

In the summer of 2019, the auxiliary slipway became damaged following days of heavy rain with the residents of Whaley Bridge being evacuated over fears the dam may collapse.

The reservoir, which supplies water to the Peak Forest and Macclesfield canals, has been out of action since. Ahead of the permanent repair, the trust, and its contractors Kier, have made the damaged spillway safe.

Once planning permission is approved a new side channel weir, ‘tumble bay’, spillway channel and stilling basin will be constructed. The stilling basin will then connect with the River Goyt, at the existing location, via a channel through the park and the damaged slipway decommissioned and grassed over.

Low water levels at Toddbrook Reservoir in July 2020.

Mr Greenhalgh explained: “We were guided in this design by public feedback indicating a continuous flow of water down the spillway was preferable.”

To achieve this, the sailing club’s clubhouse and slipway will be relocated with the clubhouse being turned almost 90 degrees and pushed back towards Reservoir Road and the slipway taken further into the reservoir.

Toddbrook Reservoir is unlike many of our other reservoirs we look after, normally they are in very rural locations but here the town has grown around the reservoir making it a more challenging project,” Mr Greenhalgh added.

"We understand the sailing club, the swimming, the fishing and even the beach are all part of the community and we want to return the reservoir back to you with all these features but there are going to be some changes.”

Artist impression of what the completed repair works will look like

The proposed work will see changes to the northern area of the park and the play area will be re-positioned.

Part of the park will be closed during the work, but it is hoped to move some of the play equipment.

During the repairs access will continue along Reservoir Road and Mr Greenhalgh said: “We know there is going to be noise and more vehicles but the people of Whaley Bridge have been so understanding with the work and we hope their patience will extend while we complete these repairs.”

A second consultation will be held ahead of the planning application being submitted.

Detailed plans of where things will be after the repair work is completed

The construction project will be followed by works to the inlet cascade to increase resilience and the high volume pumps will remain in the reservoir until the end of the restoration project.

Subject to planning permission, work will start at the end of 2021, with the reservoir re-opened to the public in 2024.

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Part of the park will be redesigned to allow the water to pass through
Daniel Greenhalgh, Canal River Trust North West Director pointing to where the new slipway will run through