CYCLISTS and pedestrians are set to be banned after all from a key York route, following a second U-turn by the Environment Agency.

The agency had said last November that under revised flood defence proposals for Clementhorpe, cyclists and pedestrians would be able to carry on using Terry Avenue, despite original proposals to close access - which had been fiercely opposed.

It said then that the revised scheme was 'great news for the local community and people who use the route to commute to work or use the area for their leisure.'

But now it has revealed that following a re-assessment, the road will still need to be closed, although for six months less than originally planned.

A spokesman said that due to significant public safety concerns it would not be possible to keep a section of Terry Avenue open, between Skeldergate Bridge and Dukes Wharf, while flood defence work takes place.

Project director Ben Hughes said: “During our investigations in October a number of incidents arose where work had to stop and members of the public needed to be escorted through the active working area.

“This caused significant delay to even these minor works and to ensure Terry Avenue was fully reopened on time we had to impose a 24 hour road closure for vehicles.

“Unfortunately these issues are out of our control and we can only conclude that it is not viable to safely accommodate the public in these areas during the main works.”

He said the agency had submitted a planning application last March with proposals to better protect Clementhorpe from flooding, as part of the £45 million given to York by the Government after the devastating flooding of Boxing Day 2015.

"But concerns were voiced about the proposed closure of Terry Avenue for up to 18 months and the impact on local residents so an alternative solution was sought," he said.

"Under the original plans, the road needed to be closed because the machinery required to install an eight metre deep wall of concrete piles under Terry Avenue to stop water ingress during flooding was too large to safely keep access open.

"The agency recently investigated the viability of using a method known as grout injection to stop the water ingress and this was found to be a suitable solution.

"This means that the work is expected to take one year, rather than 18 months, and will not require large pile driver machinery so will be less intrusive to residents living nearby.

"It is great news that a new less invasive solution, and one that takes six months less time, has been found. This will cause significantly less disruption to people than would otherwise have been the case.”

He said significant preparatory work was needed before the underground grouting could take place, meaning large scale excavation was required along the narrow river frontage.

More to follow.