COUNCILLORS in Bradford on Avon have backed plans for a £20,000 community project to make urgent repairs to Avoncliff Weir this summer.

Town Council voted 9-2 at their virtual full council meeting on Tuesday after hearing the weir needs temporary repairs to be made before winter.

Cllr Alex Kay, chairman of the council's environment and planning committee, said the picturesque weir on the River Avon is in imminent danger of collapse.

She said the Environment Agency, the owners of Weavers Mill and River House on the south bank and other stakeholders support plans for a community project to urgently repair the weir this summer.

She said: “Already supporters have pledged half of the £20,000 cost.

"I am proposing that Bradford on Avon Town Council takes ownership of the project and contributes £3,000 towards the cost."

Bradford on Avon Preservation Trust have also pledged to make a significant donation towards the cost of making temporary repairs using sandbags.

These will help to support the weir's crumbling stone walls while a longer-term solution is found.

Councillors were told that if the wall is breached, the river's water levels could drop by about two feet, having a devastating impact upstream as far as Greenland Mills.

She said it could affect the Avon's local ecology and wildlife, as well as the Bradford on Avon Rowing Club, whose members row, canoe and kayak on the river.

Members of the Wiltshire Wild Swimming Club would also be unable to swim on that stretch of the river if the water levels drop.

The weir is owned by the private owners of land on either side of the river.

They are Susan Ann Lee, of Weavers Mill, and Steve and Ewan Earl, who own the North Mill on the other side of the river.

On Monday, the Earl brothers installed safety notices on scaffolding on their side of the river.

Steve Earl, who lives in Westwood, said: “We are not involved. They are treading on very dangerous ground. They can’t touch our side of the weir.”

“I think they are jumping the gun. Nobody from the council has come to me to talk about it.”

Some councillors were unhappy that public money is being donated towards the cost of a community project on private land.

Cllr Laurie Brown said: "While I am hugely sympathetic about what you are trying to achieve, I am against spending taxpayers money outside of Bradford on Avon."