Chelmsford City Council could invest around £6million to replace flood defence gates in Chelmsford and allow boats to travel up from Maldon.
The automatic gates, which were built during the 1960’s after Chelmsford suffered serious flooding, are currently operated by the Environment Agency (EA).
However, the EA has indicated that it can no longer justify the continued maintenance of the gates.
The gates are now principally used to retain water in the river in the city centre. Without them, water levels would be non-existent at times.
A feasibility study has now recommended the most convenient and cost-effective option to replace the existing automatic weir and lock gates located on the north bank of the river Chelmer.
This estimated the cost to be approximately £6 million with a programme duration of around two years.
Stephen Robinson, leader of Chelmsford City Council, said that Community Infrastructure Levy money – a levy that local authorities can choose to charge on new developments in their area – could be used to implement the scheme.
This would allow the whole stretch of the Chelmer to be navigated up from the Heybridge Sea Lock in Maldon all the way through Chelmsford.
Currently boats cannot navigate any further than the weir.
The Chelmer River and Canal link group has been discussing the possibilty of connecting the River Chelmer past the control gate at Springfield Basin for a long time.
The canal cut proposed to be built near the Essex Records Office has long been an ambition of the Chelmsford Rivers and Canal Link Group.
But this is now deemed to be impractical given the new link road and bridge planned to link the old gas work site – which is being developed into hundreds of homes – and Parkway, one of the busiest roads in the city.
Cllr Robinson added: “We have always wanted a canal link to get over the weir.
“Previously we were talking about a cut to the side of the record office that became much less practical because of the new road to be built there.
“It was suggested that why don’t we investigate the possibility of turning it into a lock – probably combined lock and weir.”
The council is now set to agree further feasibility studies to proceed to develop the scheme into a project for implementation.