The battle to save an historic Marsden reservoir continued as campaigners met with Yorkshire Water to discuss its future.
Members of the Save Butterley Spill group urged company representatives to consider alternatives to the partial demolition of the Grade II listed spillway, which Yorkshire Water had wanted to remove as part of reservoir safety improvements.
Staff at the meeting did not make clear whether they would appeal a planning decision made in January, in which their £6 million redevelopment was unanimously kicked out by Kirklees councillors, although stating that they would at the time.
Campaigners accept that work needs to be undertaken to ensure that excess flood water can flow from the Wessenden Road reservoir without putting the dam banking at risk of collapse, despite stating that this situation would only occur ‘once in every 20,000 years.’
Under previous plans Yorkshire Water wanted to demolish the prominent stone cascades and replace some masonry on the base of the spillway with reinforced concrete, with other works to the cascade and a masonry and concrete wall.
This was despite the existing structure being declared a ‘national treasure’ by professionals in the field.
Lead campaigner Diane Ellis said that any modification to the existing spillway would ‘completely destroy’ it.
She said: “We understand that work needs to be done but they need to look at all the options and not just one.
“Butterley Spill is very important to local residents and we believe that alternative solutions are possible.
“They may be more difficult and cost more but it’s the value you place on the heritage.
“We have a good relationship with Yorkshire Water but we are not sure if they have been listening to us and hope that they seriously considered what we suggested at the meeting.”
Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney said: “With all Yorkshire Water’s resources, including the £331 million profit that they made last year and their engineering expertise we want them to come up with a scheme to protect and celebrate the spillway.
“The scheme chosen should not be based on cost and I would like them to consult another independent engineer.”
A Yorkshire Water spokesperson said: “The meeting gave us the chance to listen to (the group’s) concerns.
“The company can now reflect on what it heard and will share our next steps.
“A date for when a decision will be made has not been set but we hope to make one as soon as possible.”
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