Save Island Lodge

Meeting notes from 14th November 2022

ISLAND LODGE owned by Bury Council

You don’t need to watch David Attenborough on TV to see how man is destroying our planet just go to Island Lodge!

This was Island Lodge on Friday afternoon 22nd July. No ducks or birds to be seen only the swan at the far end of the lodge.

The smell was horrendous absolutely awful! Lasted from morning to early evening.

It was obvious what had happened. During the long dry hot weather, all the sewage from miss connected drains had accumulated in the mile long huge surface water drain running under the old railway line from Holcombe Brook into Island Lodge, at the first rainfall it was all washed down into Island Lodge creating such a smell. (The outlet for this surface water drain is near the viaduct and tree which fell into the lodge years ago.)

This pollution has been going on for years and years doing untold damage to the lodge and its environment and most probably to public health. Only recently did the Environment Agency send a high risk, danger to life notice on Island Lodge to the council via Bury and District Angling Society.

Since the 2018 Public Meeting about Island Lodge, Tottington District Civic Society, Greenmount Village Community Group, Tottington Litter Pickers, Lancashire Wildlife Trust and Bury and District Angling Society have joined forces, together withan advisory group of three localvolunteers with relevant qualifications, in a campaign to SAVE ISLAND LODGE and bring it back to its former glory, A HAVEN FOR WILDLIFE taking PRIDE OF PLACE in the Kirklees Valley Local Nature Reserve, designated as a site of Biological importance.

In August 2019 the Condition Assessment and Pre-Feasibility Study, for Bury Council done by, Stillwater Associates Ltd. List 5 options for Island Lodge the first 2 are to do with maintenance leaving it as it is. The following 3 options are on the future of Island Lodge:

1 Decommission: Get rid of lodge and leave land as it was pre-industrial. Cost £364,000

2 Leave it as it is to leak disperse the water to create a swamp area. £482,000

3 Repair and maintain it in good condition for this and future generations to enjoy. 485,000

There is only the last option we support. If Bury Council, Bury Councillors, our MP and our campaign groups all work together with the same aim and determination, then we believe this is achievable.

We also need the backing of other groups, associations and establishments as well as individuals to add their support to this campaign. You can do this by forwarding contact details including email address to our website with a few words saying they/you support the campaign to SAVE ISLAND LODGE and bring it back to its former glory, A HAVEN FOR WILDLIFE taking PRIDE OF PLACE in the Kirklees Valley Local Nature Reserve, designated as a site of Biological importance.

The more support we have the more successful we will be when applying for funding.

A most appropriate funding opportunity is due to be launched early next year.

Charities invited to share in £4m environmental funding

13 July 2022 by Ella Braidwood

Charities in England and Wales will be able to apply for up to £500,000 to fund projects that transform water services and help consumers and the environment.

Ofwat, the water regulator, will launch the £4m fund early next year.

It said charities, as well as other sectors including community groups and local government bodies, would be able to apply for grants.

The contest is part of Ofwat’s £200m Innovation Fund, which incentivises and rewards collaboration and innovation in the water sector.


Bury Council’s chief planning officer in 1977 highlighted the area’s high landscape quality, with Island Lodge taking Pride of Place.

Other reports and surveys in that era say this about Island Lodge:

A site of Biological importance providing habitat for wild life.

Main reason for designation of Kirklees Valley as a SBI

Lodges are more important habitats than woodlands.

One of the most pleasant parts of Bury.

Has so many attractive characteristics a focus for all ages.

Environmental value making a difference to the quality of all our lives.

Valued for the peace and seclusion it gives.

Recognised as a place of significance

Very much the favourite with local artists and anglers alike.

Island lodge was said to be the best fishing lodge in the area, up to 100 fish could be caught in a day.







POLLUTION: The surface water pipe coming from Holcombe Brook under the old railway line is the only source of water coming into Island Lodge.

Pollution must have been there since houses in the Byron road area were built in the 1970’s and the drains misconnected to the surface water pipe outlet. Some properties were sorted at the time of our Public meeting in 2018, the remaining properties still miss connected were fixed when United Utilities installed a new sewage drain down Byron road about 2020. Costing, according to local residents about £200,000.

Drains from house improvements have been and are still being misconnected into the surface water pipe, causing the continuing pollution of Island Lodge.

The council say they are not responsible for this pollution and encourage anyone to report any future issues directly to the Environment Agency. Telephone 0800 80 70 60. The more reports the better.

THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY were called on Friday 22nd July about the awful smell of sewage, their procedure is just to pass any sewage problems on to United Utilities. United Utilities passed it back saying it was cross contaminated drains from Byron Road and Bury Environmental Health department reference number 02477883 were dealing with this in conjunction with the Environment Agency.

Email sent to Bury’s Environmental Health Department.

They said it was nothing to do with them and was probably the Park and Countryside Services.

Reply from that department stated The Park and Countryside Services are so small a team each having individual issues to deal with and the person dealing with this one solely was on annual leave until 15th August, although they had limited updates they were not in a position to offer any advice or answer any issues. Other than saying they were sorry and shocked that UU seem to be passing the book on this one as they would’ve thought this would be their issue and the EA’s to deal with.


Water flow into the lodge would improve the water quality. The idea of diverting some water from the stream under the viaduct or through the existing pipe currently under the Cormar site could be investigated. The council are waiting to see if the increase in the water level will improve the water quality before investigating this.

ALGAE/AQUATIC GROWTH: The council have no answer to this problem and do not intend to carry out any work.

The Fishery manager for Bury District Angling society, says the water is full of blanket weed and Canadian weed. He is looking into aquatic dyes to help with this.

LEAKS: 3 leaks through the concrete wall of the dam have been fixed with puddle clay not known how long this will hold.


The Civic Society’s 2019 Pitch Funding grant paid for removing the falling tree on the island before it took the island with it.

Bury District Angling Society, with hopefully the help of the Woodland management group, plan to remove the horsechestnut tree which fell into the lodge, near the viaduct, years ago. This will also remove a danger to children tempted to play on it.

THE ISLAND in the middle of the Lodge

Countryside officer Paul Robinson is investing the use of Coir Matting to make the Island bigger, closer to its original size. The Anglers have said that they are more than happy to help using their boat and muscle power.


RESERVOIR ACT: Amendments to the Reservoirs Act, could result in less water being in the lodge.

We believe that reducing the amount of water in the lodge from just under 25 000 cubic metres, to 10 000 cubic metres will be detrimental and alternatives must be considered.

Bury Council have already asked Stillwater Associated to prepare a scheme that will reduce the maximum volume to below 25,000m3 and below 10,000m3. In the form of a spillway possibly located in the area where the dam was leaking. This will take the lodge out of the provision of the Reservoirs Act. The current threshold is 25,000m3 but under the Water Resources Act this may be reduced further to 10,000m3 if the reservoir is deemed to be high risk.


It is marvellous that the Angling Society have so many plans for the future of Island Lodge but have said if the water level was to be lowered then they probably wouldn’t pursue their aims for the lodge. Their point of view is that the current leak level is the lowest which is viably to work with. 


To bring it back to a full scale fishery as it once was.

They want to create larger pegs with the aim of being able to bring tuition or support sessions (Part of their Home – Tackling Minds) to the local area but also to gives the locals a better way of seeing the nature within the water and feeding them, as they know the children love doing this regularly.


Gaddings Dam a high risk reservoir of 100 000 cubic metres of water, which is on the moors high above Todmorden, less than a mile from the Pennine Way, is owned and maintained by the Gaddings Dam Group, preserving it as a heritage site and amenity for the public. They do all the maintenance, operation and administration for the reservoir act. Website

Why can’t this be done with Island Lodge with only 25 000 cubic metres of water.