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

A £16 million repair plan for Whaley Bridge’s Toddbrook Reservoir has been approved by councillors - despite some concerns from residents.

Thursday, 10th March 2022, 12:07 pm

Members of High Peak Borough Council’s Development Control Committee voted in favour of the application, submitted by reservoir owners The Canal and River Trust, at a meeting on Monday.

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

Now a replacement spillway will be built along with an associated dam to control the release of excess water into the River Goyt. There will also be a new access route and new facilities for Toddbrook sailing club, plus replacement play equipment and landscaping at the Memorial Park.

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Toddbrook Reservoir.

This proposal was selected from two options which went out for public consultation in 2020.

There have been 22 objections to the plans by local residents and raising concerns at the meeting was Graham Aldred, from Higher Disley, who has more than 30 years’ experience as an engineer dealing with failings and breaches.

He said: “There’s several major safety errors with the plans. It is in a totally unsafe location – it’s 300 yards from a school so the teachers and staff will be put at risk every day.

“The dam, which was built 180 years ago, had a leak in 1970.”

Toddbrook Reservoir with low water levels

He suggested the plans should be scrapped and said he felt they had been rushed into by the trust without considering if the town still wants a reservoir at all.

He added: “I hope the plans are rejected, they are ill-considered, unkind and could potentially kill people.”

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Concern over £16 million plans for Whaley Bridge's Toddbrook Reservoir

Councillors were advised that the safety of the reservoir is assessed separately and is outside the remits of the committee.

Toddbrook Reservoir.

Representatives for the Canal and River Trust told councillors they wanted to leave a ‘positive legacy’ for future generations, adding: “We need to restore Toddbrook Reservoir and we ask you to allow the trust to proceed with these vital works.”

Coun David Lomax said: “We are not experts here. We have to trust that if the civil engineers are saying the dam is safe we have to believe them. The design is acceptable and it will be nice to have the concrete grassed over.”

Coun Stewart Young said: “If you go back in time would it be the right place to build a dam? Probably not. We need to be sure that the Canal and River Trust is doing what is drawn up in the plans, we end up with what we have agreed to and it is done correctly.”

Coun Graham Oakley added: “I am concerned with a development like this, which obviously has massive benefits for the community, there are individuals with concerns who will be completely outweighed.

“There needs to be easy communications to keep the dialogue open and ways for us to continue to monitor noise and dust levels.”

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