Application for work to historic dam

A planning application has been lodged for essential maintenance work to take place on a historic dam.

Craig Gogh Dam
Craig Gogh Dam

The listed building consent planning application to Powys County Council from Welsh Water is for one of the Grade II* listed Elan Valley Dams in Rhayader.

The application is focussed on the Craig Goch Dam – also known as the “top dam” as it creates the upper-most of the Elan Valley reservoirs.

The dams and reservoirs of the Elan Valley, which are a huge tourist attraction, were built more than 100 years ago to provide desperately needed clean water for Birmingham.

Plans for the work are outlined in a Heritage Impact Assessment from Oxford Archaeology, which states: "The proposed works are located directly to the south of the dam and will predominantly be below-water, except during periods of low water level.

“A new scour downstream control in concrete housing will sit roughly centrally between the two banks.

“From this, hydraulic hoses in concrete housing will extend to the east bank, and an air supply network will run to the west bank.

“The proposed works will be visible above-ground to a limited extent.

“The hydraulic hose will enter into the 1997 concrete turbine house on the east bank, which is the only direct impact to the dam.”

Oxford Archaeology believe that the work would have a “low to negligible adverse effect” on the listing – as the work links to a part of the dam that was built in 1997.

It added: “The proposed works are necessary modifications to the water management scheme to ensure its adaptation to a changing environment and to enhance health and safety measures.

“These changes will safeguard the dam’s continued use and maintenance in to the 21st century.”

Craig Goch Dam is one of four dams on the River Elan which were constructed to supply water to Birmingham between 1893 and 1904.

It is the furthest upstream of the series of dams, located at a height of 317 metres above sea level.

It cost £6 million to build the dams, aqueduct and Frankley Reservoir near Birmingham, which is where the water pumped from the Elan Valley is stored before it is piped into the city.

Building the structures took twelve years to complete.

There was significant opposition to the scheme because of the loss of communities and land.

As construction work started in 1893 a number of buildings had to be demolished including eighteen cottages, a church, a chapel, a school and two substantial homes.

King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra visited the Elan Valley on the July 21, 1904, for the official opening.

It takes two days for the water to travel from Mid Wales to the Frankley reservoir.

A decision on the application is expected by June 21.

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