Update from Island Lodge Community meeting

Update further from the Island Lodge Community Meeting:

Update by Anthony McCaul

Thank you to all of those who have followed the Facebook page and / or signed up to the group since the community meeting at Greenmount Church.

We just wanted to share some notes from the meeting for those who couldn’t attend. If you have any further updates or additions to the notes please send on an email tofriendsofkirkleesvalley@gmail.com and I will amend / add in.

 

Panel Attendees:

Bryon and Simon from United Utilities

Cllr Alan Quinn and Graham Schoon from Bury Council

Representation from the Mersey Rivers Trust

Overview of the issues:

The main issues facing the damn:

-Sewage leaking into the lodge. This tends to happen when there has been long periods of dry weather followed by a heavy downpour of rain and is down to misconnected domestic drains in Greenmount. Most drain connections have been fixed. Estimated 12 drains that still have connection issues. It is the responsibility of the resident to remedy the connection issue

-The sewage has encouraged fast and mass growth of weed in the lodge causing the oxygen levels in the lodge to drop during the hot summer and killing the fish.

-The Victorian dam wall in the lodge is in need of repair and if not repaired likely to break emptying the it of water. There is also a slow leak that is impacting the water levels of the lodge.

-There is no fresh water flow into the lodge making it dependant on rain water to top up. This is also impacting oxygen levels as flowing water would help with this

History of the Lodge:

-Transfer of the land to Bury Council 2006

-This included a Section 106 agreement one off payment of £120,000

-Suspected breaches of the dam wall as far back as the 1970’s before the council took ownership

-Drainage issues have been reported and known by United Utilities for a number of years. United Utilities have been working with residents to rectify this

-Small repairs have been made to the lodge since ownership by the council

-The dam wall had an engineer’s report 5 years ago where suspected issues with the dam wall were confirmed

Next steps / solutions:

Drain connection issues:

The council and UU will continue to work with the residents with disconnected drains. There is a possibility that some residents may struggle with paying this. UU confirmed that it is not possible to redirect the pipe due to the age of the sewage and drains network as they would not be able to take the extra water from this pipe

Solution: 

-Friends of Kirklees and other community groups explore any community funding options to support remaining drain works if there are still drains left to be rectified by the end of the year

Dam wall issues:

There are 3 current options on the table:

1.   Fix the dam wall

2.   Decommission the dam wall (remove it before it breaks)

3.   Allow the dam wall to break on its own accord

The Council are in the process of commissioning an engineer’s report to understand effort and cost of these options. Cllr Quinn is looking at speeding this process so it is completed during winter whilst vegetation levels are low allowing for a better survey. The preferred option is to fix the dam wall. It is expected that the cost to fix will be more than council can afford.

Potential solutions discussed for the dam wall:

-Potential funding from the Redvales / Radcliffe flood defence scheme. It has been confirmed that this won’t be able to come from the original pot of money of circa £30 million for the actual flood defence but there is a further pot of £600,000 that is to support schemes that enhance the flood defence scheme. This funding would be dependent on if the lodge could act as a natural flood basin for the Kirklees Brook / River Irwell. This is being scoped by the Council, EA, UU and Mersey Rivers Trust

-Look at other potential funding options. James Frith MPs office is looking into other funding options such as Lottery funding

-Look at other options of fixing the wall. The Mersey Rivers Trust representative mentioned putting clay as a cheaper option. Council will review this option post engineer report

Water quality issues:

It is recognised that once the drain and dam issues are resolved that the water quality will need to be looked at.

Potential solutions discussed:

Option to dredge the lodge. This is likely to be discounted due to cost and some concern that we could dredge up industrial waste from the old textile works from the bottom of the lodge

-Encourage plants and fish that assist re-oxygenation. Council to scope after other issues resolved

-Improve water flow into the lodge. Option to look at the sluice gate that was shut near Cormar carpets

-There is a requirement for better signage around the lodge to advise visitors with children or dogs that there are issues with water quality. The council will look into this

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