IT’S been a long wait since the Environment Agency first revealed plans in 2012 to build essential flood defences for Skipton.

First there was the problem with finding the required £13.8 million, then there was the issue with getting planning permission.

In February, it was announced that the final £1.2 million had been awarded by central government, and a hoped-for start date was announced for the “next few months’’.

But now we learn that a main contractor has yet to be signed up, and on top of that, there is a problem with a couple of the planning permission conditions.

Monday’s planning committee of Craven District Council was in no mood to go along with the officer recommendation to accept changes to the permission given a year ago.

Instead, the agency will have to maintain landscaping at the town centre sites, for ten and not five years, which means replacing any damaged or dead trees.

But more significantly, it will have to prepare plans showing how the around 40 acres of farm land, between the A65 and A6069 Otley Road will be reinstated, before it starts work, and not after, as it hoped.

Councillors were warned that such a demand could delay start of work for a year, and could put another six-months onto the estimated two year project.

But they were convinced by the argument of the landowner, who said the 40 acres represented half of the land he farmed and he could see no reason why the agency should not stick to the original condition.