goitway.co.uk The Goit Slideshow

GREAT Update 2006

Overview Progress on achieving our ambitions has been slow and frustrating in 2006 and we hope that in 2007 we will have a breakthrough in our discussions with United Utilities.

During the year, we have been collecting information, holding discussions with government bodies and consulting with you on how you would like to see the project develop. There have certainly been a lot of contributions and tremendous public support and interest from you. In this update, we have extended our research into the history of the covering of the Goit and include project work by St John’s CE/Methodist Primary School (see Maps and Images).

In April we had an email from Clive Elphick (CEO-Transformation, United Utilities) as a result of an enquiry by Lindsay Hoyle MP on our behalf. He said that UU was sympathetic to the replacement of the green fence on Railway Road but he felt that the Goit should remain covered for water quality reasons. He awaited our plans which were being developed by the Landscape Architecture Department of Manchester Metropolitan University (see below).
However, we have had encouraging support from the various environmental and ecological bodies, in particular from the Environmental Agency whoare generally in favour of removing watercourses from culverts as it promotes biodiversity and fish migration. As far as they were aware, after the construction phase, opening up the goit “would not increase the risk of pollution to the water course”.

GREAT Plans and Meetings with United Utilities Our Plans (see Maps and Images) were presented to United Utilities operational staff in September. We were encouraged that they had no objections in principle to opening up the Goit and agreed to take our ideas to their senior management for consideration. We have no indications from them since then on their intentions.
We believe that our proposals

  1. Satisfy the majority of resident’s issues
  2. Retains and protects the United Utilities interests and
  3. Provide for a new future where United Utilities act in partnership with local community groups to secure funding and agreements to the measures outlined in the drawings.

Project Study and Funding At our September meeting, we requested that United Utilities join with us to undertake a full project study in which we would undertake to:

  1. Conduct the environmental/habitat studies in conjunction with such as Wildlife Trust and consult further with the Environment Agency
  2. Consult with the highways authorities on the issues of parking, speeding and works to the adopted footpath (Our proposals offer some additional substantial community benefits on these issues)
  3. Obtain community support on outstanding issues that they have expressed in the Parish Plan (see below)
  4. Prepare detailed plans and costings for use by contractors
  5. Arrive at a sustainability strategy that meets the requirements of all parties
  6. Further consult all interested parties, immediate householders, Bridleways Group, Withnell Angling Club etc.

With UU support, the GREAT team would seek matching funding from such as the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme, Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund, or the “Your Heritage” Heritage Lottery Fund. We have already been awarded £1000 from Withnell Parish Council and will be registering with Entrust to enable us to apply for one or more of these grants.

The 2006 Withnell Parish Plan contained the following question amongst 70 others in a detailed questionnaire answered by 30% of the population. We feel that the response was very encouraging especially since there were no Goit plans for them to make judgements on. The results and conclusions of the Parish Plan questionnaires were presented at the village road shows in November.

Question 65. Do you support the Goit River Environment Action Team objective of opening up and landscaping the Goit that runs through Withnell and Brinscall alongside Railway Road?

    Yes   No Don’t Know Total
Withnell 134  (67.3%) 28 (14.1%)   37 (18.6%) 199
Brinscall 326 (70.4%) 90 (19.4%)  47 (10.2) 463
Abbey Village    45 (78.9%) 1  (1.8%) 11 (19.3%)   57
Withnell Fold     29   (61.7)   5  (10.6%) 13 (27.7%) 47
Withnell  (Other)    5     (50%) 0  5  (50%) 10
Total Withnell Parish 539 (69.5%) 124 (16%) 113 (14.6%) 776

The GREAT team will continue to work towards our objectives. The lack of communication avenues to United Utilities is frustrating. One Senior Officer of Lancashire County Council said that UU should recognise the opening up and landscaping the Goit was a huge PR opportunity for them to demonstrate their green credentials. We hope that their new Chief Executive, Philip Green, will take note of this. He is quoted as saying that “-the company is a custodian of the environment ---the business has an important role in society” and trust that he is a man of his word.

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