Posted on February 22, 2023
Concerns have been raised that mud dredged to enable an historic 17th century Suffolk tide mill to continue working could be deposited in the river Deben.
A river users group has written to Woodbridge Town Council to question whether the dredging licence allows for the silt cleared from the area around the Tide Mill in Woodbridge to be disposed of in this manner.
The Kyson Fairway Committee, which represents users, clubs and commerce, is charged with maintaining the river for navigation as required by the Department of Transport, but fears the dredging will add to growing layers of sediment on the river bed.
The council is due to discuss the trustees’ licence application at a council meeting on Tuesday.
The dredging, which is set to cost between £5,000 and £6,000, is needed to enable the landmark water mill to continue operating smoothly.
In December, the mill’s chair John Carrington said while there was no imminent risk the mill would stop working, if the silting was allowed to continue unchecked, eventually the operation of the mill would be affected.
The potential blockage is to the outflow where the water leaves after passing through the mill.
In the letter, Mr Murray said: “Our committee supports the need for the Tide Mill to dredge but strongly opposes the method proposed.”
However, in response to the letter, Mr Carrington said the Tide Mill had taken into account the interests of other river users when choosing the dredging method, while only ‘a very small amount of silt’ would be removed.
“The amount of silt removed will be very small, the work will be done at the peak spring tide allowing it to wash away downstream with daily on-site management by our consultant,” he added.
Woodbridge Mayor Patrick Gillard said the council was aware of the risk the mill might not be able to work, as well as the concerns about silting in the whole upper Deben expressed by river users.
He said: “At our meeting of the Town Council on Tuesday 21, we will discuss the request for a licence to dredge and will make the final decision that we believe is best for the town, the mill and other river users.”