COUNCIL bosses have been accused of knowing about damage to a historic weir months before it collapsed - but decided "no action was needed”.

A large section of Middle Mill weir in Colchester’s Castle Park collapsed into the River Colne on December 10. 

Colchester Council subsequently closed the footbridge and a section surrounding the weir as a safety precaution before a diversion route was put in place.

Since then sandbags have been put in place to prevent further collapses before repair works are eventually carried out.

Essex County Council has now been accused of knowing about cracks to the structure long before it eventually buckled. 

During a Colchester Council cabinet meeting on Thursday, a timeline of events which occurred prior to the collapse was discussed. 

It stated between July to November 2023 leaks had been noticed by officers and some debris was suspected to have been caught in the gate.

Then, on October 30, a canoe club sent an email to the council reporting cracks in the abutments.

Essex County Council replied, however, stating there had been no change to the structure since 2017 and no further action was needed. 

Councillor Lee Scordis said: “This is beyond negligence from Essex County Council, who were informed of damage in October 2023.   

“Their response was that no work was needed, a similar theme residents hear when they report potholes.   


“The scenario could have been a lot worse, with it collapsing when children were walking across or during a park run.   

“Residents on the other side of the river are now cut off and Colchester has lost a small part of it's heritage.  

“I am beyond angry about this culture of complacency at Essex Highways and believe heads need to roll over this. 


“If there was better imagery for austerity Britain under this failing government I am yet to find it."  

Essex County Council has now responded.

A spokesman for Essex Highways said: “While Essex Highways is not responsible for the weir itself, we are liaising with Colchester Council and continuing to monitor the condition of the footbridge.

“Our inspector found cracks in the brick abutment of the footbridge following reports by the Colchester Canoe Club.

"However, we can assure residents this brickwork is aesthetic to the structure of the bridge and does not require immediate attention.

“We will be able to carry out a comprehensive assessment of the footbridge and any structural damage once the weather is drier and water levels have receded.”