YORKSHIRE’S only listed spillway will be repaired using concrete rather than natural stone.
The cascade at Butterley Reservoir outside Marsden was damaged in heavy rain 10 years ago.
Now Yorkshire Water plans to repair the Grade II listed spillway with concrete rather than natural stone – the material used when the structure was built in 1906.
Clr David Ridgway, who represents the area on Kirklees Council, is unhappy with the plan.
“The spillway was built more than 100 years ago and was therefore built with good, solid engineering expertise. If that is replaced with concrete, I don’t believe it will last anything like as long nor, indeed, will it look anything like as good,” said the Colne Valley Lib Dem.
“This is the only listed spillway that Yorkshire Water owns and it seems strange that they want to remove part of our local heritage.”
Clr Ridgway attended a meeting about the issue last week.
“Yorkshire Water did a presentation at Marsden Mechanics last Monday, which about a dozen residents attended,” he said. “I’d like to see what it would cost to repair the spillway using local stone.”
His Colne Valley Lib Dem colleague Clr Nicola Turner agreed.
“Surely there’s an alternative to using concrete,” she said. I know Yorkshire Water doesn’t have much money but this seems such a shame.”
But a company spokesman told the Examiner that, legally, the cascade couldn’t be repaired with natural stone.
Yorkshire Water project manager Ed Hinton said: “The company has been working hard to ensure any new design fits in as much as possible with the surrounding areas. Over 2,000 customers have been contacted to solicit their views, and a drop-in was held on January 18.
“This work is required to comply with the Reservoirs Act 1975 to ensure the overflow continues to protect the reservoir embankment from flood erosion by safely diverting excess flows away from the dam. Without the overflow, the reservoir embankment would be exposed to flood flows, which could erode it and lead to dam failure.
“To ensure the spillway is able to withstand the high velocity flows it would experience in a flood, modern construction materials such as concrete are required.
“This is the only way of ensuring the spillway is structurally capable of withstanding the huge hydraulic forces that are generated from floods.
“We’ve listened to local customers’ views and we’re confident that we can recreate a structure that they will be just as proud of, and that also meets the required safety standard.
“We’re looking to retain as many features of the existing structure as possible and mimic those that have to be removed.
“For example, it was evident from speaking to customers that the steps were a key feature of the spillway, so we’re proposing that the new structure is also stepped.
“We’re currently finalising the design and will be looking to submit a planning application for this work within the next two months. Similar projects have been done in the Holme Valley at Brownhill and Riding Wood with great results.”