A CENTURIES-old idea to build a barrier – which would today cost £26million – is being considered to help prevent Bridgwater from flooding.

The Bridgwater Barrage has been discussed in one form or another since as far back as the 1600s – the latest version is in the Bridgwater Vision document.

But now the proposal is being looked at more closely as part of a 20-year flood action plan.

Dan Rogerson, parliamentary under secretary of state at Defra, visited bosses at Sedgemoor District Council and representatives from other key bodies in Bridgwater last week to discuss ideas for the plan so far.

A spokesman for the council told the Mercury: “The partners involved in putting the plan together say much work has been done over the past five weeks from partner organisations.

“We have drawn upon studies and previously discussed ideas from across the area.

“Within the next week, we shall be fine-tuning and drawing up clear and concise conclusions to present to the Minister on Thursday, March 6.”

But so far just £609,000 has been raised towards the cost of the £26million barrage. The project is being funded by a roof tax made up of financial contributions from developers.

The spokesman added: “It will be a massive engineering project. It would be an EA decision to bring forward or not, as it is a flood defence. We are collecting a tariff from developers which will contribute towards the costs – so far we have £609,000 in that pot.”

Although dredging rivers and land management will feature, the district council and the Environment Agency are keen to ensure a ‘long term engineering solution’ remains at the core of the report Defra is drawing up and Somerset County Council is co-ordinating for the Government.