Agenda item

Open Forum

Minutes:

United Utilities – Presentation
C. Heathcote and T. Dawson (United Utilities - Catchment Controllers for the local reservoirs) gave an update.  United Utilities (UU) own a total of 177 dams, the average age of which is 130 years old with the last dam being constructed in the 1970’s.  Operating under the 1975 Reservoir Act, UU inspect all the tunnels, towers and pitches and do a full walk around of all their dams and reservoirs every 48 hours, compiling any issues into a report.  Officers are also on-call.  Every six months the dams and reservoirs are also inspected by an engineer and every ten years an inspection is carried out by an external engineer who compiles a report of any improvements that are needed to the structure.  UU have £50 million in their budget for dams and reservoirs for 2020-2025.  The Environment Agency also report bi-annually on dams/reservoirs producing a list of any ‘at-risk’ structures.

Residents queried concerns recently because of the incident at the Toddbrook Reservoir.  UU stated there is a robust system for reporting issues and test exercises are continually carried out for risk management reasons.  A report/feedback is still pending on this incident.

The Chair thanked
C. Heathcote and T. Dawson on behalf of the forum and Norden residents for the excellent work the controllers and UU provide to the environment of the local Moors under their ownership.  The approach of UU to the preservation of the Moors and measures to eliminate inappropriate use was widely praised.

Bamford Hall – Planning application
S. Cresswell, resident from the Bamford ward, gave an update.  He explained how a third attempt to gain planning permission to build a property, nine times the size of a normal house, on the green belt land  in the grounds of Bamford Hall has recently been made.  He appealed for support again from the forum and Norden residents to register an objection with the Council’s Planning Officer dealing with the application.  The Chair requested that forum members express their view on the matter (by a show of hands).  Ten residents expressed their support for the rejection of this application; no residents expressed support for the application.  The Birtle Trust has also submitted an objection letter to the development.

Bamford – Green belt land
A. Smith, Councillor from the Bamford ward, gave an update.  She expressed her support for the previous item of the objection to the planning application for the property on the grounds of Bamford Hall.  She also reiterated the fact that residents can contact the Council’s Planning Officer to gain any information they require and pass on their opinions in respect of applications.  A resident spoke about her objection to another planning application at Higher Clough at Carr Wood as she considered it is not in-keeping with the local area and it will destroy local history with its demolition.  A number of members expressed concern about the impact of inappropriate development in the green belt.  A motion was then proposed urging officers to utilise the provisions within the National Planning Policy Framework so as to give maximum protection to local green belt.  Eleven members voted in favour of the motion, none voted against.

Former Turner Brothers Asbestos Site
M. Coats, resident from the Spotland ward, gave an update.  The issues surrounding this matter were highlighted again to those in attendance, especially the fact that local residents expressed the opinion that they are not kept informed.  There has not been any update in the past two and a half years due to problems communicating with the private company based abroad who own the site.  It was reported that the on-site security guards have been reduced from two to one and there is a continual issue with illegal fly tipping on the site.  A recent positive update is that the local MP has written to the government minister in respect of the site.  The Chair applauded the efforts of the action group for the site in seeking the highest levels of security and public health protection for its future.