The councillor who spearheaded the investigation into the possibility of reopening the River Wye through High Wycombe town centre has urged residents to keep the "imaginative" plan alive.

Weeks after new Buckinghamshire Council leader Martin Tett said bringing the River Wye, an important chalk stream, up to the surface through the town was a "good idea", Cllr Hugh McCarthy, whose idea it was in the first place, has urged residents to continue their support.

ALSO READ: Could River Wye re-open in town centre?

The plan - which was predicted to cost around £3 million - was backed by the High Wycombe Society, who previously urged Wycombe District Council to "make a commitment to raising our precious river" before it was scrapped.

But the plans were shelved in October last year for cost reasons, even though councillors admitted there was widespread support for it.

Reports also proved it would be technically feasible to reopen the river between Westbourne Street and the Arch Way roundabout, with further scope to extend it through to the Wycombe Swan area.

ALSO READ: Ambitious river project will have 'long-lasting benefits' for town

After Cllr Tett's comments to the Bucks Free Press last month, Cllr McCarthy, who tirelessly worked to help bring the idea to life, got in touch to urge everyone who supports the project to continue to do so.

He said: "It is indeed good to see the continued support for the restoration of the River Wye through our town.

"There is wider public support for this initiative, now even more relevant to reviving the town following the impact of Covid-19 on national shopping habits.

ALSO READ: 'River Wye should be reopened in High Wycombe - the town is tired'

"The community and social benefits it would bring to the town are substantial, today's towns need to have a experiential reason to visit, not to park in a faceless carpark, shop and go home, we need to attract the wider public to maintain the vibrancy, economy, pleasure and character of our rather special historic town.

"I wonder how many urban designers would today bury one of the Chilterns' finest chalk streams in dark, dank culverts so as to provide just a few extra shops in an inward looking shopping centre.

"Rivers add life and interest to towns, and drive economic prosperity.

ALSO READ: Project to reopen the River Wye through High Wycombe would be 'best thing to happen in 50 years' says councillor Ron Gaffney

"So do let’s keep this imaginative and regenerative proposal alive, it needs strong ongoing public support for the new council to commit investment, like so many other towns where similar schemes have been successfully implemented, so let’s restart the political journey to restoring the historic river that gave the town its name and created its current prosperity, it deserves better and so does our town."