There will be a drop-in information session on Thursday, March 10th between 1400 hrs and 1900 hrs at Bridgwater Art Centre in Castle Street for people to hear the latest news about the proposed Bridgwater Tidal Barrier on the River Parrett.
The Environment Agency and Sedgemoor District Council are working in partnership to deliver the barrier by 2024, subject to funding and approvals. Back in December, CH2MHill were appointed as consultants to explore various technical options for the design and over the next 18 months, will be looking at a range of potential locations, gate arrangements and operating regimes for the barrier. This is an opportunity to ensure that all thoughts and opinions are taken into consideration, and so people are invited to pop along and chat to the project team.
Once in a lifetime opportunity
Bridgwater Town Council Leader Cllr Brian Smedley (Westover) said “The Parrett Barrier is a once in a lifetime opportunity to restore Bridgwater’s maritime heritage. If they get the barrier right -and that crucially involves a lock -then we have the chance to make the river navigable again, impounding water, with options for landing stages, waterborne activities,visitor attractions, a town centre harbour, maybe setting up a marina to attract sea going craft. If they are able to manage the water levels in the river that means they can get the barge lock open into the docks and they can once again become an attraction, with visitor moorings in the inner basin and access through to the main dock. And if they get that right they can open up the Bridgwater-Taunton canal and Sedgemoor can look at options of becoming a kind of Norfolk Broads.”
Unified approach needed
A statement from the Inland Waterways Association said “We believe that the River Parrett, Bridgwater Docks , the Bridgwater-Taunton Canal and their heritage help define the identity of Bridgwater as a whole. As such their use for leisure, recreation, tourism and other activities should be encouraged and developed, with the key aim of benefiting local communities and businesses. IWA suggests that a unified approach should be taken to the waterways, which takes into account their particular and unique qualities and reflects the interests of those who use, visit and live by them,”