'Sink holes' appear at historic Yorkshire reservoir caused by 'wave erosion'

Two ‘high-risk’ reservoirs will be improved with £3.4m worth of investment, if plans are approved by Barnsley Council’s cabinet next week.

Work to improve the banks and spillways at Worsbrough Reservoir will be carried out, as well as further structural investigation work.

Cabinet will also be asked to approve investigation work at Elsecar Reservoir to find out whether maintenance to its structures is required.

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Sections of the northern bank at the 228 year old Worsbrough Reservoir have been cordoned off, as mini ‘sink holes’ have been caused by wave erosion to the wall foundations, which presents a ‘significant health and safety risk’.

Worsbrough Reservoir

At the worst affected point, the shallows area, the retaining wall has overturned and is collapsing into the water.

The phased works at Worsbrough are expected to be carried out over the next seven years and investigations at Elsecar are to take place during 2022.

The council’s health and safety team inspected Worsbrough in April 2021, and had ‘significant concerns’ about the stability of the embankments surrounding the reservoir and the ‘potential risks should someone fall into the water as a result of accessing these areas’.

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At Worsbrough, the council has commissioned surveys and design proposals for the embankment.

The estimated cost of the investigations and works is just under £3.4m over seven years, which will be funded by the council.

However, the council say they will explore external funding for the scheme, such as grants from rants from heritage and lottery funding bodies, Sheffield City Region, and ‘donations from the angling society to contribute towards the cost of this scheme’.

Councillor Tim Cheetham, cabinet spokesperson for regeneration and culture, said: “These reservoirs are hugely important assets for Barnsley, and we have a duty to protect them for future generations.

“We must also make sure we do everything we can to keep everyone safe when visiting these sites.

“The works to be carried out at Worsbrough are about safety. They will have the added benefit of improving the appearance of the banks making the reservoir an even more attractive place for people to visit.”