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An application to reconstruct parts of a Victorian reservoir in West Yorkshire that is owned by Yorkshire Water has been rejected by local councilors.
The reservoir, called Butterley Reservoir, is located near Marsden. It was built between 1891 and 1906 to help prevent overflows caused by periods of heavy rain. It is currently listed as one of the ten most endangered buildings in the United Kingdom by the Victorian Society.
Yorkshire Water applied to rebuilt the reservoir’s spillway last year in order to make it functional again. However, Kirklees councilors have rejected the utility company’s plans. They did so on the Victorian Society’s demands that suggested alterations might result in the loss of the reservoir’s historical and industrial significance in Yorkshire.
Yorkshire Water planned to replace and raise the spillway’s walls as well as reconstruct part of its cascade section. A spokesperson for the company told the press:
We are already having to actively manage the volume of water held in the reservoir in the face of increased seasonal rainfall, and we need to upgrade the spillway because it plays a vital role in ensuring its safety when it is full.
On the other hand, members of the Save Butterley Spillway campaign group are delighted to hear the news. Dianne Ellis, who is part of the group, said:
Yorkshire Water has not made a convincing case to justify the demolition of the spillway, which is a unique, listed, national heritage asset.
Yorkshire Water have now appealed the decision to knock back changes to the Victorian reservoir. One of their employees, John Bond, insists that while there is plenty of local interest in the spillway it’s important to ensure of safety of homes in the area. He has promised that Yorkshire Water will maintain “pride in the skills of Victorian engineers”.
The Butterley Reservoir is a Grade II listed reservoir that runs about eight miles (13km) in length from Huddersfield. It resembles a staircase and took a great many workers to build in the late 1800s and early 1990s. A website has been set up by Save Butterley Spillway in opposition of Yorkshire Water’s plans and there is a Twitter profile too. Their bio reads:
The magnificent Butterley Reservoir spillway is the country’s only listed spillway. Yorkshire Water plan to demolish it. Please help us save our heritage.
Until a decision has been made regarding Yorkshire Water’s appeal, the water level in the Butterley Reservoir will be lowered by close to 20 feet.