Victory for campaign to preserve moorland reservoir

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COMMENTS made by users of a moorland beauty spot helped convince a Government planning inspector to order its preservation for future generations.

Ramblers, families and birdwatchers have visited Cupwith Reservoir on the hills above Slaithwaite, Huddersfield for many years, enjoying paddling in the shallows and the beach-like water’s edge.

Campaigners fought to save their “secret seaside” when owner, Dartmouth Estate, applied for permission to carry out engineering work which would have resulted in a reduction in the volume of the water.

The surface area of the reservoir would be reduced by just under one third of what it is today.

Opponents said the scheme would damage wildlife and leave the reservoir a “muddy puddle”.

Kirklees Council rejected the plan but the applicants appealed to the Planning Inspectorate.

Planning inspector Karen Ridge has now sided with the council and campaigners by dismissing the appeal.

In a report, she said that the reservoir is an “attractive feature in its own right and a “positive enhancement to this scenic landscape.”

She added: “The comments in the letters of objection at application and appeal stage give an indication as to the value which is placed on the landscape by local people and walkers and the contribution which the reservoir makes to the landscape character. In the words of one objector the site is a ‘moorland destination’ in itself.”

Her report concludes that the proposal would be harmful to the appearance and landscape character of the area.

The landowner has argued that works need to be carried out to comply with an enforcement notice from the Environment Agency.

But the inspector notes that the EA notice sets out alternatives which address safety concerns without affecting water volume,

She adds: “I have not been provided with any information as to the relative costing of the various options and why reduction in the water volume is the most appropriate course of action.”