PLANS for a £800,000 hydropower scheme at Avoncliff Weir to produce electricity for the National Grid look to have been scuppered by a local resident.

Alex Timms, who owns River House at Avoncliff, vowed to stop the scheme after plans were unveiled last year by his close neighbour Ms Susan-Ann Lee at Weavers Mill.

In February, Wiltshire Council approved plans by Ms Lee’s company, Avoncliff Hydropower Ltd, to build a hydro-power turbine on the weir capable of generating enough electricity to power 121 houses for a year.

Mr Timms has since obtained specialist legal advice from Burmingham & Brown Solicitors in Bath and Irwin Mitchell Solicitors in Sheffield.

They managed to unearth legal documents dating back to 1985, when Richard Reid, the then owner of River House, sold Weavers Mill to Thomas Simpson.

The conveyancing agreement includes binding covenants which would appear to prevent Ms Lee from making any additional or structural alterations to the weir or its environs without written approval from Mr Timms, who says he will not give it.

The clause states: “No additional or structural alteration shall be made to any buildings or erections on the property hereby conveyed or any part thereof unless the plans of such additional or structural alterations shall have been previously approved in writing by the vendors.”

Mr Timms claims this enables him to prevent the scheme going ahead because he intends to deny Ms Lee and Mr Cunningham permission to enter his property or to build any hydropower structure on the weir.

Mr Timms said: “Thank goodness the law is there to stop people from going ahead with such an aggressive development.

“I have taken legal advice which says that my garden is my property and they cannot make any additional or structural alternation to the weir without my written approval.

“They have already written to me asking for permission to put a temporary dam across the river upstream of the weir to allow reinforcement of our river bank.

“If they trespass on my garden or breach any of the covenants, I will have the legal right to apply to the court for a legal injunction to stop them.”

Ms Lee has been approached for a comment. So far, she has failed to respond.

Avoncliff Hydropower Ltd, a company set up in January last year by Ms Lee and her partner Tony Cunningham, wants to install a Kaplan hydro-power turbine with a concrete housing structure on the weir, and provide a sluice gate, fish pass, fish by-wash, and an eel pass.

The planning permission will expire in February 2021.