Welcome to the Save Butterley Spillway Website!

Butterley Reservoir is located in the Pennine moorland village of Marsden, West Yorkshire. The reservoir spillway (or overflow) is crafted exclusively in natural stone masonry and designed by the country’s foremost reservoir engineer of his time, Thomas Hawksley. Butterley Spillway is the largest, most impressive, architecturally-detailed, Victorian overflow in the country.  It is the only spillway to be listed in its own right and is in a near original condition. It’s a grand, sweeping staircase leading to the stunning moorland hills and has been loved by tourists for over 100 years.

The spillway is the pride of the local community and represents one of the nation’s great Victorian engineering assets.

In 2012, Yorkshire Water announced plans to demolish this grade II listed Victorian spillway, by replacing the magnificent, stone, cascaded steps with a concrete ramp. There is no other spillway like this in the country. Local villagers formed a group to protest the plans – Save Butterley Spillway. In 2014, the group’s campaign led to the unanimous refusal by Kirklees Council of the planning applications. Yorkshire Water appealed that decision and a public inquiry took place, the outcome of which saw the Government grant Yorkshire Water’s appeal.

Now, a local man, Colin Anderson, is challenging the Government’s decision in a High Court Hearing.  Colin, a retired civil engineer, spoke at the public inquiry urging that the planning refusal be upheld. The inquiry refused to permit his evidence and in so doing acted unjustly. As the Planning Inspector broke inquiry rules Colin has filed a statutory appeal seeking to quash the Government’s decision.

The evidence that Colin tried to present related to the other options available to bring the reservoir to modern standards but which would cause the spillway less harm.

Colin is not a part of the Save Butterley Spillway group but he attended the inquiry as a passionate local resident with the skills and experience necessary to challenge those of Yorkshire Water’s engineers. At the inquiry, he witnessed Save Butterley Spillway (who were fully engaged in the process) outmanoeuvred by corporate lawyers. Colin decided that he could not stand by and let the spillway meet its fate on the basis of an unjust decision and after all the selfless efforts of the community in a ‘David and Goliath’ battle.

Colin needs your help now to fund his legal challenge; please donate what you can.

Who are Save Butterley Spillway?

Save Butterley Spillway is a group of dedicated local residents that has been campaigning since March 2012 to preserve the overflow spillway at Butterley Reservoir. In doing so we seek to ensure that Yorkshire Water employ best practice and transparency in its design and consultation processes to achieve the best possible heritage and environmental outcome.

Our nation’s heritage is a finite asset; once it’s gone it’s gone forever.

Listen to the Spillway Voices below

The works are needed to comply with the Reservoirs Act of 1975. Yorkshire Water say this act has been changed more recently which is why works are only being undertaken now.

Save Butterley Spillway is a group that is campaigning to preserve the overflow spillway at Butterley Reservoir. In doing so we seek to ensure that Yorkshire Water employ best practice and transparency in its design and consultation processes to achieve the best possible heritage and environmental outcome.

If you are proud of and love our spillway then please help us to save it!

When this heritage is lost it will be gone forever