MORE than 120 people have attended a packed public meeting tonight about the impact of a £7.7 million York flood defence scheme on cyclists, pedestrians and the environment.

While many residents backed the principle of Environment Agency plans to protect almost 150 homes in Clementhorpe from flooding by the nearby River Ouse, many raised concerns about the risks posed to cyclists and pedestrians of heavy construction heading to the site.

A cycling campaigner claimed the closure of Terry Avenue to cyclists and pedestrians, which would be sent on a diversion across the river, would have an 'unacceptable impact', causing 21 injuries or more over an 18 month period.

Others raised concerns about the impact of heavy construction traffic on local homes and pedestrians if Terry Avenue is temporarily reinstated as a highway, with access via Butcher Terrace, as the agency is proposing.

The special single-topic Micklegate Ward Committee meeting at Southlands Methodist Church was told that the agency's proposals had not been finalised and it was looking at possible alternative arrangements which might allow for pedestrians and cyclists to continue using Terry Avenue. It also appealed for suggestions on better and safer diversionary routes for cyclists.

An agency spokesman said afterwards that the meeting had been a 'great opportunity' to listen to the views of residents and cyclists and walkers who used Terry Avenue.

"We will take away the suggestions made for alternative diversion routes and assess the suitability of each," he said.

“The Clementhorpe and Terry Avenue areas of the city are at high risk of flooding and we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that our priority is to better protect homes from flooding, something that can devastate lives.

“An allocation of funding to York following the flooding of winter 2015 has given us a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to deliver a flood alleviation scheme in Clementhorpe and it remains a priority.

“Our aim is to better protect Clementhorpe, one of the city’s few undefended communities, from its existing flood risk and the future implications of climate change.

“As a waterfront location surrounded by residential development and Skeldergate Bridge, which is height restricted, options for access to the site are limited.

“Due to the closure of Clementhorpe to allow the construction of Waterfront House flood defences and bi-fold flood gates to be installed a temporary access route is required. In consultation with City of York Council’s Highways Department, we believe the most viable option for access is to use Butcher Terrace.

“We will continue to work with City of York Council’s Highways Department, and listen to the views of local groups and residents to ensure our work causes the least disruption possible, as well as minimising environmental impact.”