NEW flood defence proposals for York’s Clementhorpe have been drawn up, which would allow cyclists and pedestrians to carry on using Terry Avenue after all.

The Environment Agency says the revised scheme is "great news for the local community and people who use the route to commute to work or use the area for their leisure".

But cycling campaigners - who have been lobbying against original agency proposals to block access along Terry Avenue and send cyclists on a long and "dangerous" diversion via the Millennium Bridge - claim the new plans create fresh dangers.

Victoria McCausland, of the agency, said it had submitted new and updated information to support its planning application for defences to protect Clementhorpe.

“This updated information includes a new innovative approach to providing underground works,” she said. “In response to concerns raised by City of York Council back in February, we have carried out wide-scale consultation with the council, residents and cycle groups, and amended our traffic management plan to accommodate their requests.

“This includes the relocation of the construction compound from the public land south of Millennium Bridge to the playing field at the southern end of Rowntree Park, the introduction of passing places along Terry Avenue and the segregation of vehicles from pedestrian and cycle routes.

“To allow for increased traffic on Butcher Terrace parking will be suspended on one side of the street while work takes place, with additional parking provided for affected residents.

“We welcome further feedback on our revised plans, including where residents feel risks have not yet been adequately mitigated for.”

An agency spokesman added that the 14-day re-consultation was a statutory period set out in the planning process, which was stipulated and managed by City of York Council and not the agency.

Kate Ravilious, who regularly travels the route with her young children, said residents and commuters were "aghast", and claimed the plans would put lives at risk by turning Butcher Terrace and Terry Avenue into a two-way access road for construction traffic, caravans, and visitors to Rowntree Park and the new Roomzzz hotel, with heavy vehicles interacting with vulnerable cyclists and pedestrians at all hours.

"Our concern is unrestricted vehicle traffic mixing with one of busiest walk/cycle locations in York - Butcher Terrace," she said.

She said a freedom of information request had revealed that council officers stated they had serious concerns about the proposed access arrangements back in February of this year.

"Despite having months to think about it the Environment Agency's new plans still fail to address those serious concerns," she said.

"Recent counts carried out by local residents and the York Cycle Campaign show that even on a cold autumn day in just one hour over 500 cyclists and more than 250 pedestrians travel along the Butcher Terrace to Millennium Bridge route."

Juliet Phillip, a member of the cycle campaign, said: “It absolutely beggars belief to open this very busy and narrow walk/cycle route up to such huge volumes of vehicle traffic."

Campaigners said that although the revised access plans did incorporate some significant improvements, including moving the construction works compound to a safer location, and enabling cyclists and pedestrians to use Terry Avenue through most of the works schedule, local residents and commuters did not feel that enough effort had been put into exploring alternative means of vehicle access for businesses along Terry Avenue.

“Construction traffic can be managed by limiting times of operation and using banks-people and escort vehicles for example, but opening up this route to 24 hour general traffic is another matter entirely, putting residents, pedestrians and cyclists at real risk,” said Helen Roberts, a resident of Butcher Terrace.

The campaigners said locals were also angered by a lack of time given to consider the fresh plans, a failure to listen to people's concerns and a paucity of planning to return the area to its original state once works have finished.

“I'm extremely disappointed to see no recommendations for the promised engagement with local residents and no clear plans for reparation either during or after the construction works,” said Tristan Moss, a resident of Terry Street.

“The rush to push these plans through is very worrying. Interested parties were only notified about the Environment Agency's revised plans 10 days after they’d been published, which only leaves two weeks to discuss the plans and lodge objections,” he added.