MORE than 120 people attended a packed public meeting about the impact on cyclists, pedestrians and the environment of proposed flood defences for York’s Clementhorpe area.

The Environment Agency’s £7.7 million scheme to protect almost 150 homes from further flooding by the nearby River Ouse was discussed at a special Micklegate Ward meeting at Southlands Methodist Church on Monday evening.

While many residents backed the project in principle, they also raised concerns about the risks posed to cyclists and pedestrians during the construction work, which could last up to 18 months.

A cycling campaigner, Gareth Dennis, claimed the proposed closure of Terry Avenue to cyclists and pedestrians, and their diversion on to busy roads across the river, would have an "unacceptable impact", with a potential for it to cause an estimated 21 injuries or more to cyclists.

Others raised concerns about the impact of heavy construction traffic on local homes, pedestrians and trees from the proposed reinstatement of Terry Avenue as a highway, with access via Butcher Terrace.

Agency officials said their proposals had not been finalised and they were looking at possible alternative arrangements which might allow for pedestrians and cyclists to continue using Terry Avenue. They 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 residents’ and cyclists’ views.

“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."

Meanwhile, 60 local residents went to a separate event last Friday about a second agency scheme to better protect homes in the Marygate area, including Almery and Earlsborough Terraces, on which the organisation aims to start work next spring.