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Maintenance work on Elan Valley Dam given go ahead following planning approval

ESSENTIAL maintenance work can take place on one of the Elan Valley Dams, now that a planning application has been approved.

Back in April a listed building consent planning application by Welsh Water for the Grade II* (star) listed Craig Goch Dam, had been lodged with Powys County Council planners.

Craig Goch (Red Rock) is also called the “top dam” as it creates the highest of the Elan Valley reservoirs.

It is a listed building as it has: “High evidential value as an impressive piece of civil engineering, constructed as part of a scheme to provide water and sanitation to industrialised Birmingham.”

The application was passed on to Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment services to decide whether the decision needed to be taken in Cardiff or kept in Powys.

Rhodri Kelly of Cadw, said: “The information supplied has been considered and the proposals as shown need not be referred to the Welsh Government.

“I therefore confirm that it is now for your authority to determine the application.”

The Powys planning report on the application believed that the development “would not detract” from the character and appearance the dam.

Powys head of property, planning and public protection, Gwilym Davies said: “The listed building application for essential and remedial upgrade works is approved.”

There are five conditions attached to the planning permission and one is: that the development follows the plan set out in the Heritage Statement and Impact Assessment by Oxford Archaeology.

Oxford Archaeology said: “The proposed works are necessary modifications to the water management scheme to ensure its adaptation to a changing environment and to enhance health and safety measures.

“These changes will safeguard the dam’s continued use and maintenance in to the 21st century.”

Craig Goch Dam is one of four dams on the river Elan which were built to supply water to Birmingham between 1893 and 1904.

It is the furthest upstream of the series of dams, located at a height of 317 metres above sea level.

It cost £6 million to build the dams, aqueduct, and Frankley Reservoir near Birmingham, which is where the water pumped from the Elan Valley is stored before it is piped into the city.

Building the structures took twelve years to complete.

There was significant opposition to the scheme because of the loss of communities and land.

As construction work started in 1893 a number of buildings had to be demolished including eighteen cottages, a church, a chapel, a school and two substantial homes.

King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra visited the Elan Valley on July 21, 1904, for the official opening of the new water supply for Birmingham.

It takes two days for the water to travel from Mid Wales to the Frankley reservoir.

Pic by Chris Downer

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