OTLEY’S Flood Alleviation Scheme should deliver a ‘great benefit’ to the town.

That is the general consensus among local politicians following the news that a £3.3 million scheme looks set to proceed.

As outlined in our page one story, the project - which had an original budget of £2 million - will include creating a long embankment to the west of Billams Hill.

Leeds City Council says the measures should provide protection against a ‘one in 25 years’ flood.

The town’s MP and ward and town councillors have all welcomed the news - though some concerns have also been raised.

MP Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds North West) said: “The extra £1.3 million shows the commitment that the Labour-led Leeds City Council has to Otley and the safety of Otley’s residents.

“I said at the beginning of the project that the £2 million grant had to be invested in full and that any extra costs would need to be met properly. I am happy that this has been the approach of Judith Blake and Leeds City Council.

“But, we cannot rest on our laurels. I will be pursuing extra government funding to turn this from a one in twenty five to a one in one hundred or even one in two hundred year scheme.”

Councillor Sandy Lay (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon)) said: “I’m pleased that progress is at last being made. With climate change increasing the number of extreme weather events like the floods of 2015, residents have rightly been concerned about the floods happening again.

“While we appreciate that the scheme will greatly increase the protection for local residents we are however concerned that it will not provide the same level of protection as the recently agreed scheme for central Leeds.

“This is something we have raised with officers who have agreed to look at ways protection can be enhanced.”

Town Council Chair Ray Georgeson (Lib Dem, Danefield) said: “The scheme will be of great benefit to Otley and we see it as part of our aim of providing enhanced flood protection by introducing natural flood alleviation through things like tree planting.”

Fellow town Councillor Mick Bradley (Green, Danefield), however, believes more needs to be done.

He said: “With a due completion date of November, 2020 it will have taken almost five years from Boxing Day, 2015 to improve flood protection for residents. The cost of £3.3 million to give a one in 25 years level of protection sounds a lot but pales in comparison to the £112.1 million that’s being allocated for proposed measures to achieve a one-in-200-year-level of protection along the River Aire.

“It doesn’t rule out future flooding, just makes it less likely, and ideally protection of at least one in 100 years should be put in place.

“The driver of extreme weather which leads to flooding is, of course, climate change and acting rapidly and decisively now to reduce the effects of that is our best insurance for the future.”