LONG-AWAITED improvements to an eyesore section of river could be in sight as authorities reportedly prepare plans for revamp work.

The River Colne in Halstead has long been a source of frustration for residents.

Overgrown vegetation, littering and a limited water flow have diminished the river leaving many wanting to see improvements made.

Problems appear most apparent on the stretch of river at the causeway from the town bridge to the former Courtaulds mill.

Works on the river were anticipated for April 2020 but were put on hold by the Environment Agency due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, now hopes of seeing work done on the river are in sight according to the town's dedicated Halstead River Improvement Group.

The group announced on social media on Monday that the Environment Agency plan on speaking to residents and announcing proposals regarding works to visually improve the river at the mill.

According to the group, a plan has been formed by the agency in conjunction with Braintree and Halstead councils, Halstead in Bloom and the river improvement group on how best to achieve the improvements.

Neil Williams is an original member of the group.

He said: "grouMy understanding is that the various pieces are falling into place and, Covid allowing, I am hopeful that the work will commence in late October.

"I do not have final details of the works but the Environment Agency have indicated these will include removal of the 'duck platform', some redirection of the water course to encourage the emergence of a more natural river appearance, removal of various bricks, concrete and other detritus from the river bed and some tree pruning, stump removal and removal of other vegetation opening up the visual aspect."

The coronavirus lockdown also stalled the group's ability to maintain the river.

Fortunately, the river improvement team are getting back in to doing their litter picking sessions.

Mr Williams added: "So far as I can see the Covid restrictions do not appear to have had any adverse impact on this section of the river from an ecological point of view, but have obviously limited the ability to use volunteers to undertake further maintenance and improvement works this year.

"However, the monthly river litter pick has now resumed on a modest scale consistent with Covid requirements.

"The next litter pick is scheduled for this Sunday morning."