Forge Dam Updates
We are delighted to announce that Planning Permission has been GRANTED, valid for three years. There are some conditions to the permission which include:
Approval of movements of storage of materials and vehicles
Management of public access and traffic
Method statements for construction methods, waste management and pollution prevention
Details of the training wall design
Consultations with SCC Ecology Unit
Submission of a Remediation Strategy Report relating to the silt removal.
These conditions are what we were expecting, given that these are things that need to be addressed during the detailed design work. We now have all the permissions in place to enable us to apply to potential donors for the outstanding monies.
The Forge Dam Heritage & Habitat Improvement Project
The thermometer here shows how much the Friends of the Porter Valley have raised to date from small donations and events, including £70,000 from Council Section 106 money (under this scheme new property developments have to give money for community good).
Our regular community events of the Annual Duck Race, Autumn and Christmas fairs help to raise useful amounts whilst having a great time. However we urge visitors to pop their spare change into the collection bottle on the counter in the Forge Dam Café or into the green charity buckets which will be around on conservation work days twice a month.
Sheffield Council is made aware of the poor state of the Forge Dam area via a public petition.
Sheffield Council engage consultants in Landscape Design and Management of old industrial millponds (dams) to produce recommendations to restore Forge Dam.
Unlike the other millponds in the Porter Valley, Forge Dam ‘blocks’ the river and takes the full flow of the brook, making it prone to silting.
Two previous attempts had been made in the 1970s and ‘80s to desilt the dam, with the latter project creating the island we see today and the installation of a silt trap just upstream from the dam. Unfortunately the planned bi-annual clearance of the silt deposited in it fell victim to early Council cuts and was rarely undertaken. The opening of the original shuttle on the spillway to flush out silt had already ceased.
Public Consultation on recommendations take place at Forge Dam Café and Sheffield Council approve a Master Plan proposal to remove the silt from the dam, and retain a smaller island.
It is also stipulated that the management of future build-up of silt must be sustainable, and estimate the cost of desilting and landscape improvements to be £360,000.
The Plan does NOT include the return of rowing boats to the dam.
It was agreed that the silt could not be removed until the money for the whole project had been raised.
With no identifiable Council budget for these works, FoPV launch the Forge Dam Restoration Project and fundraising starts in the spring.
Money to be raised by collecting at talks, walks, and running community events, and from the Annual Easter Duck Race which was previously used to raise money for the Shepherd Wheel Restoration.
FoPV launch their annual calendar to help raise funds.
FoPV volunteers undertake clearance of the area outside the Café, removing trees and scrub.
FoPV introduce autumn and winter fairs for the community to help raise funds.
By the end of the year funds stand at over £40,000
Sheffield Council allocates £70k to the restoration fund from section 106 agreements with local developers.
A section 106 agreement is an agreement between a developer and a local planning authority about measures that the developer must take to reduce their impact on the community. It forms a section of the Town And Country Planning Act 1990.
FoPV volunteers install Ecogrids (environmentally friendly ground reinforcement) to protect the grassed area at the foot of the embankment.
FoPV volunteers undertake landscape works and continue to open up the area to the sunshine.
More trees removed above the spillway and the embankment.
FoPV volunteers develop the gardens around the Café area.
By year end the funds stand at just over £127,000 (Inc. section 106 money).
The embankment was reseeded with grass and wild flowers.
Technical solutions to removing the silt begin and consultants appointed to give a professional opinion.
The FoPV Duck Race raises over £10,000.
By Year end the funds stand at just over £143,000 (Inc. section 106 money)
FoPV commit funds for a hydro geo morphological survey to consider the problem of the build-up of silt, identifying the required long term and sustainable solution.
The channelling of the brook to improve its flow through the dam would be possible by introducing a ‘training’ wall along its original route. This would allow sediment to continue with the river rather than settle in the dam. The money needed as a result was recalculated to be £370,000.
FoPV engage consultants to analyse the silt so that decisions about its disposal could be made.
Results of this reveal the presence of small levels of hydrocarbons and cadmium raising questions about how the silt can be safely disposed of.
Local scout group use their community week to help tidy up the Cafe area and develop the gardens.
FoPV By the end of the year funds stand at just over £161,000 (Inc. section 106 money).
Sheffield Council approve the technical proposal to introduce a ‘training’ wall.
With Sheffield Council approval and over 50% of the target funds raised, FoPV start to draft submissions to major donor agencies.
The FoPV duck race raises over £10,000 for a second time.
FoPV Workdays in December concentrate on clearing the island of self set trees, and plans are drawn up to start de silting the main river route to prevent the sudden increase in silt deposition.
FoPV By the end of the year funds stand at over £200,700
FoPV Work is undertaken in de silting the main river route to prevent any further increase in silt deposition.
Sheffield Council Steering group planning application is submitted and no new application to the Environment Agency needs to be made, though an application to Sheffield City Council must be made for the area above the spillway.
The environmental impact statement completed.
FoPV FoPV conservation group clear the last part of the new channel so that the water can flow freely through the channel.
FoPV The technical proposals for steering the Porter Brook and disposing of the silt submitted to a Council programme board.
FoPV Received planning permission for the proposals.
FoPV By the end of the year funds stand at over £217,000
FoPV volunteers continued landscape improvements on the overgrown island and the brook channel.
The FoPV duck race raised over £11,000
FoPV cleared the first stage of the bidding process for a medium sized Heritage Lottery Fund grant in August.
Work started on the full application for up to £200,000
The final bid will propose more wildlife / habitat improvement, more public information on, and involvement in, the heritage and natural history of the area.
By the end of the year a partnership agreement with the Council, a revised FoPV Constitution, and a fresh User Survey were in place.
By the end of the year funds stand at just over £255,000.