A CAMPAIGN group has been launched to fight plans to close a York road to cyclists and pedestrians during the construction of new flood defences.

The group, called Pedestrians And Cyclists Together (PACT), will hold a series of meetings to gather support and explore viable alternatives to the proposed closure of Terry Avenue.

A spokesman, Gordon Campbell-Thomas, said the group was not opposed to the Environment Agency’s overall scheme to protect homes in Clementhorpe from flooding by the nearby River Ouse.

However, it did oppose the closure to pedestrians and cyclists of the riverside avenue, all the way from the Millennium Bridge to Skeldergate Bridge, for 18 months, with such people having to cross the Millennium Bridge and cycle and walk along the other bank of the river.

He said PACT believed the agency had not explored alternative routes for its construction traffic in enough detail or consulted local residents in meaningful numbers.

He said PACT would be holding a series of meetings over the coming month to explore viable options which could be presented to City of York Council when a final planning application came before it at the end of August.

“The first meeting will be at the Winning Post on Bishopthorpe Road at 7pm on Wednesday, August 7,” he said.

“All are welcome, including representatives of the council and Environment Agency.

“We are interested in exploring all avenues that will allow the work to go ahead without the need to ban pedestrian and cyclists from the footpath along the river, and without the need to cut down trees.”

An agency spokesman said its priority was to better protect homes from flooding, something which could devastate lives.

“We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to deliver a flood alleviation scheme in Clementhorpe, which remains one of the few undefended communities,” he said.

“In consultation with City of York Council’s Highways Department, and having looked at a number of alternative options for site traffic and the cycleway and footpath diversion, we believe the most viable option for access is to use Butcher Terrace.

“We are currently working with the council and the local community to review this, as well as other suggestions that have been made by local residents.

“This includes for example, bringing in the equipment and materials by barge. Once we have the results, we will inform the community.”

He added that the agency understood that its work might have an impact on those who enjoyed using the riverside byway but it was ‘only a temporary inconvenience’ and it urged residents to be patient.

The £7 million Clementhorpe scheme is one of a series of flood defence projects which are being proposed across the city using a special £45 million grant provided by the Government in the wake of severe flooding from the Ouse and River Foss in late 2015.