Youngsters join bid to save wild habitat

CHILDREN have voiced their concern over the potential loss of habitat for local wildlife at a threatened Walsden dam.

Opposition to Elite Homes’ proposed plans to drain and backfill Ramsden Wood Reservoir, also known as the Top Shop Dam, has been mounting as Walsden Junior School pupils appeared on ITV’s Calendar News this week.

Year six pupils walked to the dam, with their teacher Mr Spooner, to lend their support to the campaign to save the reservoir.

Pupil Hannah Mickleburgh said the wildlife had been in the area for hundreds of years. “It’s like taking homes away from the wildlife that is here. We don’t have the right to do that.”

Abi Parker said it was not fair to destroy habitants. “If the pond is filled in it will take the homes of lots of creatures, not just the fish, but also the birds that live here too.”

Ellen Walker and Maisie Routledge were both concerned that the wildlife would not be able to move to another home as easily as people. “How would we feel if someone came and destroyed our homes? It’s not just the fish that will suffer but the other wildlife, including the birds who will have to go too,” said Maisie.

Walsden is an attractive place to live but the number of new housing developments are in danger of destroying the beauty of the area, argued Alex Georgiou.

The reservoir has been used by Todmorden Angling Society for decades and has been stocked by the club with 25,000 worth of fish. John Chapleo, of the society, said there were carp, chub, bream, roach, perch, gudgeon, among others in the dam.

School pupil and young fisherman Chris Roberts voiced his concern for the future of fishing in the area.

“I fish in the canal and if this place is filled in many more people will start fishing in the canal and the fish there will soon be gone as well.”

Georgina Lindley, a friend of the angling society and concerned Todmorden resident, said the campaign was picking up pace as people realised the potential loss of the amenity for wildlife, anglers and local residents. Having looked at the reports submitted to Calderdale Council’s planning department Georgina said there were other options to make the dam safe, and it was not necessary to drain and backfill it. She said there was a petition for people to sign at Viaduct Video, next to Todmorden Bus Station.

Elite Homes said the company had taken advice on the long-term stability of the dam and concluded that the best way to make it safe was to drain and backfill it.