Plans for flood alleviation works in Clementhorpe – including the controversial closure of Terry Avenue during the construction phase – have been approved by City of York Council in a four-hour virtual meeting.
Residents objected to the closure of Terry Avenue to cyclists – and the impact of 30 construction vehicles a day making their way down Butcher Terrace.
The Environment Agency (EA), which is carrying out the project, had looked for ways to keep the route open but found it was not possible to do so safely, according to a report.
The final travel and construction plan will be worked out with the chair and vice chair of the planning committee and council officers – but the meeting heard the application could be brought back to a public meeting if an agreement cannot be reached.
Terry Avenue had been due to shut to vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians from July 2020 to October 2021.
But it will now be closed from around October – with the construction compound due to be set up on the informal football pitch to the south of Rowntree Park from September.
Lots of objections
Several petitions and 154 objection letters were received in response to the plans.
Residents, York Cycle Campaign and York Civic Trust spoke in objection to the application – raising fears about the impact on cyclists and walkers, particularly when the council is encouraging more active travel due to social distancing.
Fears were also raised over large construction vehicles manoeuvring and the noise created – which could see some residents moved out of Waterfront House while work takes place.
But an EA spokesperson said it is a “unique opportunity” to use government money to protect homes and disruption would be minimised as much as possible.
Cllr Dave Taylor asked if more could be done to make Bishopthorpe Road safer for cyclists – as it is likely to be used over the signposted diversion.
He added that councillors have already received complaints about difficulties with social distancing on New Walk and called for the replacement bridge at Blur Bridge to be put in place before work starts.
Cllr Michael Pavlovic said: “This is a difficult one. The strength of feeling that some members of the public have had in respect of their concerns as to how this is going to impact them are heartfelt.
“I think the detail of that travel plan is going to be fundamental.
“But it’s 135 homes that are, for the first time possibly ever, going to have some peace of mind and reassurance that they are not going to risk flooding once or twice a year – with all that that entails.”
The plans were unanimously approved by the planning committee after more than four hours.