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18 January 2018
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Consultation offers chance to give your river views PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 June 2017 10:58

general panorama reduced
Public input is being invited over “challenges” resulting from a sluice gate near Woodmill nearing “the end of its economic life” – with possible solutions involving the creation of a white water canoe course at Woodmill or weirs near the pitch and putt course.


The sluice gate at Woodmill Pool will shortly either need replacing, or an alternative solution found for water management, according to a consultation that’s now running.

Four initial ideas are being put forward, some of which could affect water levels at Riverside Park.

The sluice gate can’t simply be “let go”, explains Groundwork South, which is running the consultation on behalf of the Environment Agency, without “causing significant impacts on users of Riverside Park”; doing so would mean water levels in Riverside Park would be “significantly lowered”, apparently creating health and safety risks and “substantially changing the aesthetics of the area”.

Sluice gate failing

Groundwork South says the sluice gate is failing more frequently, is costly to maintain – “in recent years the Environment Agency has spent over £100K maintaining it”, and says it serves little purpose.

The structure is thought to also hinder the passage of migratory fish into and out of the river, so the fish population may not be fulfilling its potential – and this may also be impacting on “upstream fisheries’ interests”.

itchen weirs
Weirs in this section of the river could be a solution, leaving the upper reach unaffected by changing water levels or tidal patterns, and promoting better fish passage

Groundwork Solent wants to record the views of local residents and “help to ensure the majority views and opinions of the public are represented in the final designs where possible”.


“At this point we are simply throwing ideas out on the table but it’s the perfect opportunity for people to get involved and have their say on what matters now so that it can be factored into developing the final designs,” Christopher Smith, communities and open spaces team manager with Groundwork South told

He said a second consultation would take place later on, with more detailed drawings, designs and costings.

Four initial ideas up for comment are:

  1. Maintaining the current system by replacing the sluice gate, at a cost of around £800K and with maintenance costs of £8K per year.

  2. Removing the sluice gate altogether; this would apparently result in the Itchen Navigation Riverside Park near the pitch and putt course end becoming tidal. It would allow for better fish passage but there would be a drop in water levels on the Itchen especially at high tide. Costings aren’t given for this option at this stage on the consultation download.

  3. Removal of the sluice gate but the addition of weirs to bring the water level down in sections. This would leave the upper stretch unaffected by tides, and still promote better fish passage. Costings aren’t given at this stage.

  4. Blocking off the existing gate and establishing a white water canoe course through Woodmill with incorporated salmon pass. This would apparently keep water levels near Riverside Park “practically the same” and fish passage would be improved. Costings aren’t given on the consultation download.

You can download more detailed information on each option as PDF files, including drawings and photographs showing the position of the sluice gate, possible weirs, the white water course etc, and take part in the consultation, from this link.

Photographs: Groundwork South

• While we welcome your comments and discussion, both underneath and on the Facebook thread which is here, bear in mind that if you want to take part in the consultation you need to do that via the survey which is here.



0 #1 Andepearson 2017-06-07 18:11
...or you could spend the money doing something helpful to all us that have to use this main route out:

- Actually put up signs for the 3 car rule!?
- Expand the bridge to 2 lanes (add traffic calming if you must but at least traffic would move)
- Add a proper cycle/footpath over the existing bridge. People cycle/walk into the road due to pedestrian congestion. It isn't safe and those bollards are not enough to stop an accident happening.
- fund another bridge from Mansbridge to Midanbury; (sure many would gladly pay a toll to use it so you can get your money back)
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+1 #2 Me, Here, Now 2017-06-07 22:26
Bit of a confused message in the blurb - removing something that "serves little purpose" will "create numerous health and safety risks and substantially change the aesthetics and ecology of the area".

With a drop of 2m from the river to the salmon pool, sounds ideal for a hydroelectric power system?

And as someone else commented, this also sounds like an ideal time to sort out the road.
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