Landowner defends weir breach project

Sue Mitchell complains about work done on the riverbank at Bothal.
REF 2407140643

Sue Mitchell complains about work done on the riverbank at Bothal. REF 2407140643

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A Bothal landowner has hit back at criticism of the breaching of a 400-year-old weir, saying there are no disadvantages to the scheme.

Last month, the Herald reported concerns from resident Sue Mitchell, who owns land just upstream of the weir at Shadfen, that the water level had dropped two metres as a result of the project by the Northumberland Rivers Trust and that she had not been consulted about it.

But Charles Sample, the agent for Welbeck Estates, which owns the land on both side of the weir, said there was consultation, including a planning application, and the scheme will make it easier for fish to travel along the Wansbeck. He said: “The fluctuating levels of the river meant that the fish pass was inoperable. It just didn’t work for months or days in the year.

“The Rivers Trust has had great success on the Coquet with migratory fish and something had to be done here. We thought about renewing the fish pass, but the weir is not used now and blocks up. It stops the flow of water in excessive flood times.

“We didn’t want the weir washed away like at High Ford and it was thought that if we breached the weir it would solve lots of problems. We thoroughly agreed with that proposal.

“We are delighted with the work. The river level will find its own form in a year or two and the migratory fish have no blockage now. The whole of the river will benefit.

“We are taking a broader look at it and we could see no disadvantages to the project.”

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