Green Fears Delays Mill Pond Repair 2007

Halifax Courier 10 January 2007

GREEN worries have been blamed for delaying the £220,000 renovation of a dangerous mill pond.
Repair and landscaping work was due to start on the lower dam at Jowler Mill, Luddenden, last May after it threatened to burst.
But council bosses spearheading the scheme claim that pressure from environmental campaigners forced them back to the drawing board.
Homes were evacuated in 2005 when the dam almost collapsed and flooded 50 houses further down the valley. Engineers were drafted in but Calderdale Council is still regularly spending thousands of pounds to pump water out of the pond, angering locals.
Dick Stephenson, of the Hullit, who lives near the dam, said: “It annoys me when the council are hiking their parking charges and complaining about having no money, yet down at the mill they are pumping it out at huge expense.
“They said they were going to start last year. If they don’t do it this summer it will cost even more money. And I am not sure about their consultation – I live just up the road and I have heard nothing. It has been nearly two years since this problem started.”
Peter Coles (Lib Dem, Luddenden Foot) said: “It is time they got on with it. Safety should be the main concern and work should be done as soon as possible.
“They did good work when the problem was discovered but since then they haven’t done anything at all.”
Council spokesman David Calderwood confirmed that work would start in the spring and could take up to a year to complete.
“We regularly monitor the site and there is no imminent danger,” he said. “We are looking at making progress in the spring and sum-mer.
“The delay was because we revised the plans after consulting local environmental groups, including the Luddenden Conservation Society. Firstly they wanted to ensure it was in keeping with the local environment and to retain some form of pond for wildlife.
“It is best to get it right and so the work was delayed.”
The council was forced to step in when the dam’s owners could not be traced. The mystery stretches back over 100 years.
Henry Boardall, of Bluebell Walk, Luddenden, claims his grandfather bought Jowler Mill from paper manufacturers Brackens in the early 1900s but the lower dam was not part of the package.
“I’d always been told it had been bequeathed by the previous owner to the Soil Association before the mill was sold to my grandfather,” he said.
The mill was sold by Mr Boardall in 1982 and turned into homes.