A ROWING club is facing a race against time to fund £85,000 of repairs to a weir smashed by last month’s floods.

Hirst Weir at Bradford Amateur Rowing Club's base on the River Aire in Shipley was badly damaged in the Boxing Day floods when surging water swept down the valley.

But shocked club members did not know the extent of the damage to the weir until the river level dropped by more than three feet.

Now, the club hopes to carry out repair work on the weir tomorrow and has arranged for 5,000 tonnes of sandstone to be delivered and put in place using specialist machinery. The work is estimated to cost £85,000

But before repair work could start the club needed permission from the Environment Agency.

"And we have just been given verbal consent for that work to begin," BARC president Dr Celia Hickson said yesterday.

One positive aspect of the planned work is the possibility of a new fish pass to improve upstream travel.

The club will also need to appeal for financial support as it has a £20,000 shortfall in meeting the expected bill.

It will be asking for contributions from both the University of Bradford Rowing Club and Bradford Grammar School’s Rowing Club, which also uses the stretch of water which is usually about four feet deep.

Describing the damage Dr Hickson said: "It’s not just a hole in the river, it’s a breach.

"We are having to foot the bill. It’s our weir and our cost.

"It’s been stressful. Coming down to see the damage has been shocking and distressing.

"Nobody has been able to get out an row on the water since it happened last month.

"We are working in partnership with the Environment Agency to find a solution.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: "The Environment Agency has received an application for consent to carry out repair work on Hirst Weir from Hirst Weir Ltd, a subsidiary of Bradford Amateur Rowing Club.

"The weir, on the River Aire was damaged in recent high river flows.

"The Environment Agency held pre-application discussions with Hirst Weir Ltd to advise on how improvements to fish passage over the weir can be included as part of the repair work."