The reservoir had been created during the Industrial Revolution to serve a cotton mill that had since been demolished. It was capable of holding more than 25,000m3 of water above the natural level of the surrounding land. Failure of the embankment could lead to extensive property damage and possibly loss of life, the inspector recognised.
The appellant proposed to cut a large notch in the embankment, create an overflow channel at its base and a spillway to cater for flood events and install pipework connected to an existing outfall. The inspector recognised that the reservoir could be drained but found that this would result in the loss of a body of water of some ecological value.
He accepted that inserting a pipe through the embankment was not a safe solution due to the possibility of blockage. He was concerned about the conspicuous incongruity of the prominent and angular engineered notch in the embankment. However, he saw no reason why the harm could not be mitigated through revised contouring and landscaping.
DCS Number 100-064-482
Inspector Keith Manning; Hearing