The way to do it.
So you have a river in the wrong place. You want to lose it underground. First you starve it of water, then you refrain from enforcing river cleaning.
After the stream becomes choked up with water cress plants you can say "This river is failing; the best thing is to culvert it."
Householders nearby will get around four or five feet added to their gardens. They won't object to that, so there will be no problem with them.
Landowners who have already sold or are on the point of selling their fields for houses to be built on them certainly won't complain. So the Middle Yeo gets lost to Clevedonians and just quietly disappears.
That but for the diligence of the Friends of the Land Yeo would be the fate of that river too, Water flow is being restricted because the sluice at Yearling Ditch is set too low. The environment agency does not harry Clevedon Council into cleaning the river in lower Stroud Road area. Last year the water could hardly flow the watercress had blocked the river so badly.
What will the next step be? When was the last time the river was slubbed out?