Bradford Council supports Leeds’ flood works scheme

DECEMEBR 2015: Cars under floodwater in Kirkstall. PIC: Tony Johnson
DECEMEBR 2015: Cars under floodwater in Kirkstall. PIC: Tony Johnson
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A MULTIMILLION-pound project to improve flood defences in Leeds will see major works taking place in Apperley Bridge.

Details of the second phase of a £100m scheme to protect Leeds from flooding were recently revealed, and the works will cross the border into Bradford at Apperley Bridge.

Leeds City Council has written to Bradford Council to detail the scope of the Apperley Bridge works. Bradford has responded by supporting the plans, but calling for Leeds to carry out extensive consultations with different groups, from local residents to heritage guardians, before the project starts.

Overall proposals for the project include building concrete walls, planting two million trees and creating a wetlands area in a bid to reduce the city’s flood risk.

They also include an extended flood plain in Calverley to hold back water flow during floods – with the ability to hold 3.5 million cubic metres of water. The plans also propose extra defences at low-lying locations, including embankments, concrete walls, sheet piles and glazed panels. New structures and goits would be built near Kirkstall Abbey and Armley Mills Industrial Museum.

In Apperley Bridge the works are expected to be primarily on the river banks/bridge on Apperley Lane and around Harrogate Road.

Leeds submitted a “scoping request” for the works earlier this summer. It is a precursor to a full planning application, and asked Bradford Council how wide its consultations need to be before the final plans are formulated.

The report says: “A severe flood in the winter of 2015 (Boxing Day), resulted in the water levels rising 1.2m higher than previously recorded. The floods affected 2,000 residential properties, 400 commercial properties, major transport links and critical infrastructure.

“These flood events occurred due to heavy rainfall which caused the River Aire and neighbouring canals to overtop their banks. This was further compounded by increased urban runoff of rainwater.”

Bradford Council has suggested to Leeds that any works need to take into account the socio-economic impact of changes, and that a “meaningful public consultation” be carried out with residents of Apperley Bridge about any proposed changes.

That would include with the highways department, as “construction works have the potential to impact on the local road network and road users surrounding the scheme,” and Historic England as “this development could, potentially, have an impact upon a number of designated heritage assets in the area around the site”.

Mohammed Yousuf, area planning manager, said: “The proposal has the potential to have significant benefits and the provision of protection from flood from recently affected properties.

“On the basis that matters identified in this letter can be resolved with a positive outcome then the council would welcome continued dialogue to bring about the submission of a quality planning application.”