Locals invited to have a say on issues at Dovestone Reservoir

A CONSULTATION with “local people” is on the agenda as part of new plans to tackle ongoing traffic issues caused by increasing visitor numbers to Dovestone Reservoir.

Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, is convening a session later this month with a view to consulting on proposals put forward by stakeholders.

However, traffic marshals, who were deployed until the end of September to help alleviate congestion at the Greenfield beauty spot, are not due to be re-introduced until 2021.

The location has been as busy as ever on fine Autumnal days, especially at weekends, bringing a return of littering, overcrowding and poor and illegal parking in the area.

Calls by locals and councillors to introduce a temporary closure of the reservoir site until issues are resolved have been dismissed.

Now though the partnership overseeing Dovestone – United Utilities, the RSPB and Oldham Council – is looking at ways to find solutions to the ongoing issues.

“We cannot control the number of visitors in cars that choose to drive to Dovestone,” said a spokesperson for United Utilities.

“We cannot close Dovestone. It is open moorland with public rights of way and we cannot charge for entry like the National Trust for the same reasons.

“If we closed the carpark people would park in other unsuitable places, probably in the village itself.

“However, we have been developing further plans we hope will ease some of the issues.

“Local MP Debbie Abrahams is convening a session so we can consult on these plans with local people.

“We will listen to their feedback, as well invite their ideas on what can be done, with the view to introducing some improvements next spring.”

During the height of the summer marshals were on site every day “at great cost.” The bill for the staff provided by a private company ran into “tens of thousands of pounds”.

“It is not sustainable to keep the marshals on site over the winter when visitor numbers have reduced,” added the spokesperson.

“But their role of course will feature in our management plan. We will have more to talk about in due course when we consult on the plans.”

The Independent contacted the MP’s office for a comment but hadn’t received one at the time of going to press.

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