£10m Skipton flood defence proposals submitted

Craven Herald: Announcement: Craven District Council leader Chris Knowles-Fitton Announcement: Craven District Council leader Chris Knowles-Fitton

Plans for £10m flood defences to protect Skipton have been submitted to Craven District Council.

The Environment Agency project will reduce flood risk from Eller Beck and Waller Hill Beck and is designed to protect more than 500 homes and businesses.

If everything goes to plan, including getting planning permission, work will take two years to complete and will take place both in the town and on its outskirts.

The scheme has already received £7.6 million funding from the government and the leader of Craven District Council, Coun Chris Knowles-Fitton, has announced a further £2m grant from the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) – although the Environment Agency says that has still to be confirmed.

The project will involve the creation of two flood storage areas upstream of Skipton - across Eller Beck at Skipton Golf Course, and across Waller Hill Beck between the A65 and Otley Road.

It is planned that the storage tanks will hold back water from the hills above the town during periods of heavy or sustained rainfall and so slowing the flow into the two watercourses and reducing the risk of flooding.

There will also be improvements to river channels in the town centre and the raising of some existing river walls to reduce the risk of overtopping.

It will mean better flood protection for town shops, businesses and Sandylands Sports Centre, and also for the town’s road and rail network.

Will Benedikz, Environment Agency project manager, said: “Subject to planning approval from the council, we will hope to be able to start construction work in the summer, but the precise start date will depend on our being able to secure all the required funding.”

He added: “We currently have £7.6 of approved funding and we are in negotiations with the Local Enterprise Partnership, and local businesses which will significantly benefit from the scheme, to secure the remaining £2.5 million which will be required to complete the works.”

Although it will take around two years to complete, the scheme has been carefully designed to ensure that the works at Skipton do not adversely impact on communities downstream and has only been finalised following consultation with partner organisations, businesses and residents.

“The two-year construction programme will take account of seasonal business peaks to ensure there is minimal disruption to the town but, as most of the work will take place outside the town centre, we do not anticipate there will be any significant impact,” said Mr Benedikz.

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