CITY leaders say fixing a historic weir will not be “quick and cheap” and could cost hundreds of thousands of pounds as the future of the site is explored. 

A meeting at Colchester Town Hall heard about possible options on how to restore the Middle Mill weir. 

In December, a large section of the weir in Colchester Castle Park collapsed into the River Colne, leaving the footbridge and a section surrounding it closed off as a safety precaution. 

Fiona Shipp, head of sustainability of the council’s scrutiny panel, discussed a report about the weir’s future but warned rebuilding it could cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. 


According to the report, there are currently three options, the council will consider. 

The first option includes the removal of the damaged and washed-out sections of the weir, including the last remaining pillar, as some sections may be salvageable. 

A second option suggests the potential replacement of the weir with a smaller weir structure to hold the water levels, while a third option suggests to completely replace the structure to meet current laws and guidelines. 

The report said: "A potential add-on option if the weir is not replaced, is to enhance the riverbed for wildlife by installing gravel bars and adding meanders.  

“However much of this process will happen naturally within the first few years. This would be positive work considering the current climate change emergency.” 

Options two and three would include fish passes as required by the Environmental Agency. 

Mrs Shipp said: “We’re certainly looking at hundreds of thousands of pounds in cost. 

“It wouldn’t be a rebuild like for like because we would have to meet more modern standards, so there would be additional costs.” 

Council leader David King said: “We must understand the scope completely. We must get the best competitive pricing we can from people who know what they are doing given this is so frankly unusual both in location and I suspect in terms of challenge and then do it at the best pace.  


“We need to share that when we’ve got a better sense of it but we’ve got quite a bit of work to do. 

“This will not be quick, this will not be cheap.” 

Specialists and residents have been consulted and their feedback will be used going forward, Mrs Shipp added.