Whaley Bridge residents warned

Published: Wednesday, 27 November 2019

THE Canal & River Trust is to extend its weekly drop-in sessions at Whaley Bridge but has warned residents that its employees and volunteers should not have to suffer abusive and aggressive language or behaviour, writes Allan Richards.

Following the near collapse of Toddbrook Dam in August, the Trust has held four open days and weekly drop-in sessions on Wednesday afternoons. The drop in sessions are to be extended from two hours to five.

ToddbrookHousesJoined by specialists

CaRT's Gillian Renshaw will be joined by 'specialists' at the Transhipment Warehouse by the canal basin from 10.00am to 3.00pm, every Wednesday as follows:

27 November: repair project manager
4 December: environment and volunteering
11 December: youth engagement and events
18 December: communications
8 January 2020: volunteering & waterway operations
15 January 2020: local volunteering opportunities

22 January: local environment and ecology
29 January: repair project manager


However, CaRT's invitation to the local community comes with a warning:

"We’d ask that those who attend these drop-in sessions do respect that the Trust employees and volunteers are there to help and should not have to suffer abusive and aggressive language or behaviour.  We know how vital it is that we maintain open communications with the local community but we cannot tolerate any threatening or hostile behaviour."

Whilst not condoning bad behaviour, it comes as no surprise that some local residents are angry with CaRT and taking it out on volunteers and staff at drop-in sessions. CaRT's Chairman, Allan Leighton and Chief Executive, Richard Parry were very noticeably absent from site during the emergency in August.  They still have not visited to reassure local residents and appear to be distancing themselves, leaving it to junior staff to manage the situation.

Heavy censorship not gone down well

In addition, the heavy censorship of documents relating to the maintenance of Toddbrook Dam has not gone down well.  Residents have been told everything is okay but CaRT can't release large parts of the documents that would prove this.

The reason given for heavy censorship is that the information might be used by terrorists to kill the residents of Whaley Bridge and other communities living under dams...

Hardly reassuring!