PLANS to significantly reduce the water level at a reservoir high on the moors above Huddersfield have sparked controversy.

And if they are backed by Kirklees Council, the beauty spot at Cupwith Reservoir near Scammonden will have a new overflow system constructed to keep the reservoir capacity at below 10,000m³.

The planning application reveals the Environment Agency (EA) consider the reservoir in its current form to be “dangerous” and have served a notice on its owner requiring safety works.

The application adds: “The reduction in volume is the only viable means of complying with the EA notice.”

The applicant, Darlington-based Rosscroft Ltd, does not need planning permission to drain the water but they do need permission to construct the overflow.

The planning report shows that Kirklees environment unit, the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Water did not oppose the plans. Natural England await an appropriate assessment by Kirklees.

However, 30 letters of objection have been submitted and concerns include:

Detrimental impact the development of the overflow will have on wildlife

Detrimental impact on the amenity of users of the adjacent footpath

Adverse impact on water courses downstream of the reservoir

Detrimental impact on landscape character and visual amenity.

The planning report says: “This proposal would result in a substantial reduction in the area of the current reservoir.

“However, it is considered that subject to the includes of specific planning conditions to control operations during the construction of the new overflow system and the subsequent restoration of the site, this proposal would not have a significant adverse impact on the local ecology of the area.”

The reservoir occupies a 5.8 hectare site off New Hey Road not far from the Nont Sarah’s pub.

The reservoir was constructed in the 1800s to improve water supply to mills in the Slaithwaite area and not for drinking water. Since the mills ceased production the reservoir has been redundant.

Kirklees councillors on the planning committee will consider the application tomorrow at 1pm at Huddersfield Town Hall.

Councillors will have to delegate authority to officers who will await comments of Natural England on the appropriate assessment.

If they raise no objections the decision will be formalised.