“Close dovestone" further demand from parish council chair

Reporter: Ken Bennett
Date published: 23 June 2020

A frustrated parish council chair is calling for an urgent mini summit with a giant utility company seeking temporary closure of a problem-ridden beauty spot.

Cllr Jamie Curley revealed his plan at a zoom meeting of Saddleworth parish council last night in the wake of continuing problems caused by throngs of visitors to Dovestones reservoir at Greenfield.

Despite newly imposed traffic restrictions surrounding the reservoir, motorists are still causing havoc, particularly at weekends, with traffic spilling into Greenfield village itself.

And the increased volume of vehicles is causing dangerous congestion, blocking roads and entrances to people’s homes.

Now Jamie Curley, who also serves as a ward councillor on Oldham council, is planning to meet United Utilities who control the reservior with the RSPB, and officials of Oldham’s District Partnership.

He said: “This is not nimbyism but things have escalated with increasing numbers of visitors bringing chaos to Greenfield itself.

“Dovestones is not like the Lake District where visitors boost the local economy. Here, people just turn up, leave their rubbish and drive away. The amount of waste they leave behind is bewildering.

“We have installed a new yellow line system on the main A635 Greenfield to Holmfirth road but visitors simply ignore the rules and park anywhere. We are also looking at further highway measures.

“And I plan to ask for more enforcement at the site with the hope people will realise the penalties show we mean business.

“I will be suggesting to UU temporary closure of the reservior until we can get some workable solutions for our local community who have been facing increased problems and heightened frustrations at weekends.” 

Doctor Andrew Taylor, chair of the influential Greenfield and Grasscroft Community Association, has already written to The Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth about the community dilemma.

He says moves are needed primarily to protect the area and its residents, and to avoid the “widespread arrogant” flouting of Covid restrictions and regulations.  

“Dovestones has become a no go area," he said. “There are patently two problems - massive antisocial and dangerous behaviour at Dovestone and a massive local disquiet at the events out of control.

“Credit again where it is due, to the residents, the employees of the involved authorities, the volunteers, the police  where duties permit and Oldham Council for the emergency procedures they enacted to put double yellow lines along the A635 Greenfield to Holmfirth road.

“This has been flat-out effort, without victory. Sadly, the Dovestone should once again be closed to the public, primarily to protect the area and its residents, but also to avoid the widespread arrogant flouting of Covid restrictions and regulations.”

Locals have taken to social media highlighting serious traffic issues, illegal use of bbqs and stressing:“Dovestones is a reservior not Blackpool Pleasure Beach.”

And a former soldier who has leaving a cottage near the reservior because of the problems has gone on record to say he would rather serve a tour of duty in Afghanistan had continue to live in the site.

Do you have a story for us? Want to tell us about something going on in and around Oldham? Let us know by emailing news@oldham-chronicle.co.uk , calling our Oldham-based newsroom on 0161 633 2121 , tweeting us @oldhamchronicle or messaging us through our Facebook page. All contact will be treated in confidence.