Leeds villagers ‘sacrificed’ for £50m flood scheme

Allerton Bywater parish councillor Mick Weaver
Allerton Bywater parish councillor Mick Weaver
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Residents of a low-lying village on the outskirts of Leeds fear they are being “sacrificed” to protect other parts of the city from flooding.

As reported on Thursday, work has started in Woodlesford on a £50 million scheme that will also include a further phase in the city centre and Holbeck.

The improvements are designed to protect 3,500 homes from potential floods.

But people in Allerton Bywater fear the knock-on impact will be that water is diverted into the village.

Parish councillor Mick Weaver said: “Allerton Bywater is the lowest point of Leeds and water just runs downhill into the village. It’s horrendous.

“We have all got grave concerns. The water has got to go somewhere and it’s common sense that if they put flood defences in Leeds and Woodlesford it’s going to push more water our way.

“They have told us it will be okay, but they don’t live here. It feels like we’re being sacrificed for other parts of Leeds.”

Mr Weaver, who has lived in Allerton Bywater for 42 years, said plans for the former St Aidan’s opencast mine to take flood water during heavy rainfall had never materialised. “We have been battling for years now to get extra protection but it’s as if we’re a non-entity,” he added.

Concerns were raised about the potential impact on the village when planning permission for the scheme was granted last October, but councillors were reassured that the floodline would be no higher after work was done.

A spokeswoman for Leeds City Council, which is behind the scheme, said: “When we do any flood alleviation work, we have to test and prove that it won’t have any kind of impact further down stream.

“If the modelling work suggests that it will, we have to put measures in place to mitigate that.”

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