Chasewater: The whining continues

I note from local news services including Licfield Live, the Express and Star and local free sheets that local councillors in Chasewtown and Burntwood are still attempting to make lame political points out of the closure of the dam road in Chasewater.

The Express & Star reported:

Councillors are calling for a new car park to be built on their side of the Chasewater reservoir, after grudgingly accepting a through road will not reopen following dam repairs.

There is only car park space on the Brownhills side of the reservoir, with people from Burntwood having to travel a nine-mile circular route to park their cars.

Lichfield councillors say it is unfair that people on the Burntwood side pay their council tax towards the upkeep, while people in Brownhills have a place to park at the Chasewater Innovation Centre.

Pool Road, which was closed for repairs at the pool, is likely to remain shut.

The £5.5m work to prevent an overflow and flooding at Chasewater is now complete, but the road, which closed in August 2010, has remained closed.

Councillor Eric Drinkwater said: “There’s a lot of land there and for a lot of people it is a nine-mile round trip. They ought to provide a car park on the Burntwood side too.”

The road in question, closed in 2007, had only been practically accessible for a few years since the Chasetown Bypass opened before closure on safety grounds. It’s a very narrow road, just one vehicle wide, with no passing places, footpath or even a decent surface. It’s reopening, just to satisfy a moaning minority who find the extra couple of miles (not nine, for heaven’s sake) too much to ask would be a disaster and open the part to antisocial behaviour, rat-running and car cruising, just as it did last time it was open.

Thankfully, sense seems to be prevailing and the road will remain closed. I have no objection to building a car park to the north of Chasewater, but it must not encroach on habitats, and councillors should bear in mind why the car park at the end of Church Road was closed when not in use.

The barriers clearly don’t apply to these people, because they’re special… Anglesey Basin, 5th June. Up on the dam road, the roadblock had been pushed aside.

I note that already, the road block created by the barrels halfway down the dam is being moved to force access, and see fisherman’s vehicles down by the canal basin. There was a reason this access was stopped, and I have no wish to see the antisocial behaviour and drug dealing return to the basin area. That barrier needs to be replaced with something substantial. Is it really so hard to pull your kit a few hundred yards?

I noted over the Jubilee weekend anglers camped on the basin, lighting fires and suchlike, and when they left, they tidied all there rubbish into carrier bags and stuffed them into a tree. Come on lads, you brought the shit with you, take it back, eh?

I realise it’s a tiny minority of anglers getting the others a bad name, but give us a break…

From the Express & Star website, Monday 11th June 2012. Click on the screenshot to visit the article.

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14 Responses to Chasewater: The whining continues

  1. I love the typical Express and Star stock photo image being used… completely irrelevant to the subject matter. As a Featherstone resident for years they couldn’t run a story on the village without a picture of the prison.

  2. Peter says:

    Councillor Eric Drinkwater should get his facts right, 9 miles!!! He clearly has no idea about the subject but is simply regurgitating other peoples incorrect statements, he has clearly never driven along the new bypass onto the A5 and up to the Rising Sun Island and back down to the entrance. A suggestion, if you’re going to try and get involved, get your facts right, then we might listen to what you have to say. The road is closed, has been closed for years and should remain closed, why would anyone want to reopen it? KEEP IT CLOSED.

    • stymaster says:

      I was fully intending to check how far a detour was required, as I thought the “9 miles” had a whiff of bullshit about it. Anyone know how far it is? Not as if it really matters, if you’re in a car, FFS. As pointed out before, the road over the bam is not suitable for through traffic.

      • It’s two miles, assuming a start at the spot island, taking account of the distance that would be travelled down the dam road. Ofcorse, most will come from elsewhere and the diversion will be considerably less.



  3. jim says:

    I can see it now the Dam road standoffs Transit vs Fiesta their red faced expletive bellowing occupants locked in a battle of nerves who’ll wimp first and use the reverse gear of shame.

  4. They are BOC’s ans you know I don’t swear (often) Bob! 9 miles by car, try 70 miles a week exercising your dog, you dull jobsworths!

  5. Bloke66 says:

    9 miles? Must be going the very long way round.

    The road would need a new surface to be passable, which would be expensive. Also, some satnavs (at least a few years ago) showed the road as passable, and people would attempt the trip and arrive a bit puzzled in Chasetown!
    If satnavs haven’t been updated, opening the road could possibly lead to a load of short cut traffic, which wouldn’t be appropriate, I’m sure Cllr Drinkwater would agree.
    Park in one of the free car parks off the High Street or Queen Street. It isn’t a very long walk.

  6. Are we nearly there yet?
    The nine mile round trip – quite right and also very wrong.
    I live in the middle of Burntwood and the “round trip” has just taken me 8.2 miles.

    In 1972 the distance would have been 4.8 miles. That is using the Spot Chasetown, the start of Paviors Road and the part of Pool Road that wound its way to the dam via a thousand pot holes. That would be a saving of 3.4 miles but at the possible cost of some new springs.

    Then the M6 Toll came and that part of Pool Road was replaced by a footpath. My distance to travel via the dam would then have been 6.2 miles – so closing the dam road would cost me just two more miles.

    The distances for a round trip from the post M6 Toll entrance to Pool Road off the A5195 Miners Way link road to the South Shore car park via the dam would be 1.4 miles. Not using the dam would be 5.8 miles from that point. That is an extra 4.4 miles but as no one lives within a mile of that point, why would anyone want to use that route anyway?

    Do a few miles matter? Road providers love “approved routes” and give them appropriate investment. The rat run option via the top of the dam may not be quicker and could be a lot slower and more stressful if someone came the other way! Personally, I always pick the widest, staightest roads

    In the 1970s I quite often used the road but it was no short cut – due to the tank trap size of the potholes it took longer to get to Chasetown than to drive all the way around. In those days it was easier to let a road become impassable than go through the legal process to get it closed. At that time it was my habit to use roads that were closed in a practical sense but not a legal one. Until I cracked the prop-shaft of my Vauxhall Viva, that is!

    The route has not been a practical option for decades so why all the fuss now?

    I have always tended to put forward the opposite case to the general opinion to see that all sides of an argument are covered and on this subject I feel well placed to do so. For most of my life I have been an “immovable” part of Brownhills but a few years ago I moved! (To Burntwood).

    The dam is no longer the financial concern of Brownhills (Walsall MBC) but is financed by Staffordshire money and we all know that whoever pays the piper calls the tune!

    BUT before people send the “glad to see the back of you” messages……..

    I don’t think any one really expects the dam road to be opened again but I do wonder if Chasetown & Burntwood people are getting a fair go. Is all the hot air that is being generated a roundabout way to get the derelict house that I think was called “The Cottage” renovated with a car park in its grounds? A car park on that side of the dam would also give easier access to the wilder side of Chasewater for the less mobile nature lovers. The current financial conditions would suggest that a great deal of local interest would be required to get such a project moving. What better than a border dispute with “that other lot in Brownhills who get all the benefit while we do all the paying”?

    OK, now you can all tell me to get lost
    David Hodgkinson

    • Peter says:

      Far from telling you to get lost I think you make a lot of sense here. Personally speaking I’m not against a Car Park at the location you describe as long as the wildlife isn’t disturbed (Animal or Fauna). My objection is that the “Dam Road” shouldn’t be reopened, it is not suitable for vehicular traffic and would only regenerate the sort of ASB that was endemic when it was passable. Me thinks the “Dam Road reopening” is a bit of a red herring here, I think you hit the nail on the head with the comment regarding “that other lot in Brownhills”

    • stymaster says:

      Sounds fair enough to me…..

    • Can’t argue with it either. Not sure the old cottage is the best place, being right next to the most sensitive bit of the SSSI, but there are other spots nearby.
      I’ve no doubt about the tactical use of the border dispute, but doubt either councillor are sophisticated enough to manipulate this from the outset to get a northern car park. I think they saw the original letter in the Mercury, and hopped on a passing bandwagon. They have form for that.
      I do think they’re knocking on the wrong door, though: Lichfield can’t get their hands clean of this mess fast enough (invoice from Staffordshire Council incoming soon, explosion expected) and are unlikely to spend money improving stuff. They’ve even installed a management team that saves energy by not actually doing anything…
      Roll on the Staffordshire takeover. They give a toss, and know how to run stuff. Unlike Lichfield.


      • Well said, as usual.

        Two questions –

        Is the derelict cottage of enough architectural or historic interest to make it worth saving?

        Where does the financial buck currently stop? I thought that, due to the extreme costs, Lichfield District Council had given up its interest in the whole Chasewater Country Park to Staffs County Council in exchange for avoiding the bill for the dam work. Does the following mean that Lichfield DC has escaped the costs from May 2011 but not previous costs? Or is it more complicated than that?

        “In May 2011, Chasewater Country Park and its reservoir were transferred to Staffordshire County Council to secure and strengthen the long-term future of this key regional resource. It had been owned and managed by Lichfield District Council, which inherited the country park in 1994 following a local authority boundary change. Since then, millions of pounds have been pumped into the park’s transformation, thanks to the work of the district and county council, together with external grant funding.
        The reservoir provides British Waterways with essential water to maintain levels in the Birmingham Canal Network, and beyond. It is currently re-filling, following the essential improvement works to the dam which were completed in April 2012.
        Chasewater Country Park is currently managed by Lichfield District Council. “

        • Peter says:

          I’m not sure the derelict cottage is of enough interest from either aspect to keep really. Does it have much of a history?

  7. Pingback: Chasewater road closure – get your voice heard « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

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