FRESH details have emerged of plans for a massive flood storage area north of York, aimed at helping to prevent a repeat of the 2015 flooding disaster.

It is set to be created alongside the River Foss just upstream of Strensall and hold up to 800,000 cubic metres of floodwater - equivalent to 320 Olympic swimming pools - following heavy rain.

The Environment Agency, which is inviting the public to comment on the plans at two drop-ins next week, says it is involved in continuing commercial discussions with landowners relating to compensation for the use of their land.

A spokesman said the scheme would require planning permission from both City of York Council and Ryedale District Council, as the storage area would straddle the two authorities’ boundary.

“Planning permission is needed because it will be a designated reservoir, which means there will be a requirement that the embankments are inspected by a reservoir engineer on a regular basis,” he said.

“The flood storage area, roughly 1km squared, would hold back water in times of flooding. A structure across the river would then slow the flow of water coming down the Foss after heavy rainfall.”

He said the structure would be built about 100m upstream of Walbutts Farm/Haxby Walbutts Waste Treatment Works and the storage area embankment would be on either side of the river up to Lilling Green/Ings Lane.

“As well as better protecting homes from the flooding, the agency will also be looking at opportunities to improve habitats and water quality.”

Agency official Richard Lever said: “Along with the work that has been done to upgrade the Foss Barrier, the flood storage area will better protect homes that were badly affected in the Boxing Day 2015 floods, such as those on Huntington Road.

“It will also reduce the risk of flooding to a key traffic route into the city. Around 300 properties would be better protected from flood risk.

“Around a further 250 properties would see a benefit from the reduced risk of flooding to access roads to their properties.”

He said the proposals took into account a forecast potential increase in flood events on the river because of climate change.

The spokesman said that following further assessments and engagement with key stakeholders and the public, the agency aimed to submit planning proposals in spring/summer 2019 and anticipated construction would start at the end of 2019 or early 2020.

*The drop-ins take place at Strensall Village Hall from 2-7pm on Tuesday, September 18 and the Living Word Church, Huntington Road, from 2-7pm on Thursday, September 20, with staff on-hand to discuss the proposals and listen to feedback.