TOWN councillors who have questioned whether a proposed flood barrier is viable in Bewdley have been urged to keep an open mind.

The Environment Agency expressed "concern and disappointment" Bewdley Town Council had reservations about whether the scheme would work and the disruption it would cause.

The agency said it was responding to council concern which followed a consultation exercise on possible solutions to Bewdley flood problems.

The town council has also sparked outrage among members of a committee of Bewdley flood victims who condemned councillors' views as premature.

Upper Severn area manager Steve Morley said he had written to the council to urge it to keep an open mind about the outcome of continuing investigations into the scheme.

He offered to meet councillors to answer concerns they raised and emphasised the agency was committed to a process of formal and informal consultation.

Upper Severn flood defence and water resources manager Peter May said: "Our main concern is to provide Bewdley residents with a flood alleviation scheme that will give the best possible protection against further flooding, preserve the historic character of the town and meet concerns about visual impact.

"We recognise there will be concerns about short term disruption during construction.

"This needs to be seen in the context of long term benefits to local people if we can reduce flood risk. We are working very hard to design a scheme that will meet people's needs."