Sep 23, 2023·edited Sep 23, 2023

I went to a talk on the restoration project about a year ago. I was struck by how hard SCC had worked, particularly the officer heading up the project. The work, involvement and fundraising of the Friends group was phenomenal. The project was plagued with issues (many unexpected and beyond their control) one after another...I did wonder how they kept going. And I was struck with how they overcame them. From what I could see they were all living and breathing the project and losing sleep over it, given the amount of money involved - plus the weather always seemed to be against them at key points. I was impressed (and I suppose jealous) at how well the lead officer and Friends group worked together. I remember thinking if it was like this for all council projects, how much more would get done in the city? Mostly you have to lead SCC kicking and screaming to projects because they are so risk averse, particularly in the current economic climate.

I can't comment on the standard of work by the contractor, my understanding was that in removing more silt (apart from the cost) there was a risk of the dam walls collapsing. Sorting that would have cost millions of pounds.

While I can see the results of the project so far are not what were expected, I would like to know if the local residents complaining got involved in anyway to help? Or whether it was another case of leave it to others to do the work and the fundraising and then publically beat them with a stick when it doesn't turn out as expected?

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Sep 23, 2023Liked by Victoria Munro

Goodness only knows how they managed when it actually had to run a forge... Without wanting to trivialise a sad and frustrating story, time for a homophone moan: when Sanctus say the training wall is "discrete", meaning separate, they are quite correct; if they meant "discreet", meaning not prominent, that is another matter. It seems to be a particular problem in the construction industry. Don't get me onto how many buildings in Sheffield somehow came to be made of "complimentary" materials...

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I live next to the park at Forge Dam and visit nearly every day.

The recent works have improved much of the area. When rainfall is low the mudbanks re appear and it doesn't look good. There must be a leak somewhere and this needs sorting.

In my experience any project in a historic site will always cost a great deal. Surveys are not likely to create a complete picture of the site and difficult problems turn up and will need to be dealt with.

I am in awe of the volunteers who have done a great deal of work over the years and I know that such a project can cause sleepless nights and a great deal of anxiety having worked on a couple. SCC have put in a great deal of effort at a time of extreme budget cuts.

I think that the hardest part of such a scheme is Stakeholder Management- trying to ensure that a partnership of SCC, volunteers and contractors can see a scheme through to a conclusion. Plenty of schemes with community involvement have fallen by the wayside because of rows and arguments or just a lack of energy to see things through.

I can see that righteous indignation can be comforting but I think that the way forward must be to find the source of leaks, plan repairs and work out how to raise the cash needed.

By the way, I doubt that the voice of the local community was of interest to anyone in power when it was actually a forge and a dam.

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I agree with Bridget.

I do feel that this a a rather 'Heads must roll ' take on the problem giving one man's view undue prominence.This is not the sort of reporting I expect from The Tribune. Unfortunately all schemes like this have hidden problems which cannot all be predicted at the design stage. .It was also unlucky that the work started just as the weather changed from drought to torrential rain....and so it went on.

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An interesting insight into what has happened at Forge Dam. However, if you really want to see an example of a botched job and money wasted (or fraudulently spent perhaps) then talk to the Friends of Birley Spa about the quarter of a million pounds of lottery funding that was 'spent' by Sheffield City Council which left Birley Spa in a much worse state than it had been in before. The use of inappropriate materials in an historic building and the poor quality of the work has meant that the building has deteriorated really badly since the work was done. It is hard to see how 250,000 pounds was actually spent on the work. It would be nice to know where the money really went.

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I wonder if the answer is in our hands - or our shovels. If an invitation went out to Sheffield gardeners to bring a bucket and take some silt - great for gardens! - then the problem could be solved in a cheap and communal way

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Excellent article on Forge Valley.

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A great shame that things haven't worked out as planned despite the effort put in. It seems to me that the Forge Dam is just one of many though. All 3 of the Beauchief Abbey fishing ponds are silted up (makes you wonder how they managed to serve their purpose for hundreds of years until now)...the ponds at Whirlow are silted up. Abbeydale Hamlet dam has problems but the amount of silt uncovered as it's drained looks enormous. Those are just the few ponds I've seen recently. I would guess (but would be happy to be proved wrong) that all the dams downstream from Forge Dam are equally degraded....from Wire Mill down to Endcliffe. Forge Dam is, unfortunately, one of many..but I don't know what the answer is .

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