Archaeology out there - Council for British Archaeology

Butterley spillway success!

Thankfully, Kirklees’ committee voted unanimously to reject plans to reconstruct part of the Victorian reservoir spillway in Marsden, West Yorkshire.

Butterley spillway on a winter's day

Yorkshire Water applied to reconstruct nearly half of Britain’s only listed spillway.  They amended the application after objections that the heritage of this local landmark had not been taken into account, and yet their pastiche approach still caused uproar.  Local group, Save Butterley Spillway, worked tirelessly to protect their architectural monument, encouraging letters of objection and showing the number of locals who valued the spillway.

The spillway was built between 1891 and 1906 and demonstrates the wealth and attention put into designing industrial structures in the period.  With ashlar dressings and turrets as would be found at country houses and civic buildings, this spillway was designed to show pride in Huddersfield’s water and the textile industry.  Today it makes a beautiful grand cascade in the hills, clearly noticed and loved by the local people who stopped its destruction.

The Council for British Archaeology had written to object to the plans in October, and reiterated our objections to the revised plans ahead of the committee meeting.  We are pleased to hear that the application has been refused; we are not pleased to hear that Yorkshire Water still do not seem to have grasped the point, and immediately announced thoughts of appeal.

Looking at responses to press articles, there seems to be some misunderstanding about the heritage concerns here.  We’re all calling for the design and history of this special place to taken into account in the new plans – no one is against storm-proofing Britain’s waterways.  Several options where the spillway would remain untouched were put forward by Yorkshire Water, but they were dismissed without proper explanation.  Heritage is not a barrier to technical improvements: listed places significant in the national heritage just need to be considered in proposals for alteration.  Consideration at the start of the process makes for a much smoother and quicker process for change. 

For updates on Butterley and other cases:              

  • Facebook, add Casework Claire, our Listed Buildings Caseworker for England
  • Or become a member to receive the CBA newsletter and British Archaeology magazine
Share this
Back to top

Speak up for archaeology now!

Help us to raise the profile of archaeology in the UK, guide policy and best practice and safeguard our unique heritage.

Join the CBA