THE permanent restoration of Toddbrook Reservoir in Whaley Bridge has got the green light following planning approval by High Peak Borough Council.
It gave the Canal & River Trust the go-ahead to start on the project, which is due to cost in the region of £15 million. The main construction phase around the dam is likely to begin in the autumn and take around two years to complete, with the aim of reopening the reservoir in 2024.
CRT North West regional director Daniel Greenhalgh said: “We are pleased to be moving forwards with the complex permanent repair project. We are very grateful to everyone for their continued patience and support, as we appreciate that the works will inevitably cause some disruption for Whaley Bridge residents, particularly those living nearby.”
A new overflow structure will be constructed to the north of the dam. This involves building a side channel weir, ‘tumble bay’, spillway channel and stilling basin which will link into the existing bypass channel flowing into the River Goyt in the town’s Memorial Park.
The concrete panels from the 1970s-built overflow spillway, damaged in summer 2019, will be removed. The dam will then be repaired and grassed over.
To make way for the new spillway works, the sailing club will be relocated behind the new tumble bay. The current clubhouse will be taken down and replaced by a new sailing club slipway, clubhouse, boat storage and car park.
Another building close to the works, the former Victorian reservoir-keeper’s house, Toddbrook Lodge, has been acquired by the Canal & River Trust and will be carefully preserved. It will initially serve as a site office for the construction works.
Over the next few months, the trust and its contractor Kier will set up a temporary site compound at the northern end of the Memorial Park, by the playground next to the dam. Preparation work will include installing new fencing and hoardings, essential tree felling, creating new access routes to the compound and tumble bay area, diverting drainage and feeder channels, and essential site clearance. A footpath will be retained across the park, connecting Reservoir Road along the river to the Memorial Park Bridge and will feature a viewing point for the construction work.
New play equipment is being installed as a temporary measure at the top of the dam, next to Whaley Bridge Athletic Football Club. At the end of the project in 2024, a new playground, similar to the existing one, will be rebuilt at the same location in the Memorial Park.
The park will also be re-landscaped with replacement trees, wildlife habitats, extra paths and a new footbridge over the bypass channel. The project will achieve a net biodiversity gain of more than 10%.
Daniel continued: “Our contractor Kier will provide a dedicated traffic liaison officer who will be on site throughout the works to help with any issues.
“Construction access will be along Reservoir Road and we very much appreciate the co-operation of those residents in particular as we make preparations for the main works.
“Restoring Toddbrook is vital to ensure the long-term viability of the Peak Forest and Macclesfield canals. The reservoir will be restored to the most stringent 21st century engineering standards – keeping everyone safe is our top priority.”
The main phase of the project will be followed by works to the inlet cascade, at the far end of the reservoir, to increase resilience to high flows from Todd Brook stream.
High-volume pumps will remain in the reservoir to manage water levels until the end of the restoration project.
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