TWO drop-in sessions are being organised by the Environment Agency next week as it works up proposals to improve flood defences in two York communities - including demountable defences across a street.

The agency announced last year that Clementhorpe and New Walk, on opposite sides of the River Ouse, would be the first two neighbourhoods to benefit from a £45 million defence upgrade across York, funded by the Government in the wake of the 2015 floods.

Victoria McCausland, project manager for both schemes, said yesterday the agency was ‘making good progress’ and hoping to start work by October or November in Clementhorpe, where many homes were inundated in 2015.

She also revealed it was now looking at plans for temporary demountable defences across the street called Clementhorpe, which would be installed when flooding threatened.

In 2008, City of York Council investigated a demountable flood defence barrier there but decided not to go ahead with it because of concerns that water might permeate the ground under the barrier and rise to the surface on the dry side through cracks in the road.

Engineers feared there could be a sudden, catastrophic failure of the road surface.

Victoria said that under agency plans,a cut-off under Clementhorpe would prevent water ingress underground.

She said a number of agency staff working on the York scheme recently visited Northwich in Cheshire to see its demountable defences in action. “They use slide-in metal bars to create temporary flood defence walls alongside the river when it is in danger of overtopping,” she said.

“This is one of the options for the barrier across Clementhorpe, just down from the Slip Inn. The visit also helped us understand how the wall would be deployed in times of a flood event.”

She said the agency was planning a public event in September to showcase the detailed design of the Clementhorpe scheme, including the demountable defences.

She urged local residents to come along to next week’s drop-ins, particularly those living between Vine Street, at the back of Rowntree’s Park, and St Chad’s Wharf.

*The Clementhorpe drop-in will take place between 3pm and 7pm next Tuesday at Southlands Methodist Church, Bishopthorpe Road. The New Walk drop-in, about plans for defences between Fulford and the Ouse/Foss confluence, will take place between 10am and 8pm next Wednesday at the agency’s York Community Flood Hub in Wellington Row, near North Street.