LANDOWNERS are formally objecting to a proposed £3.3 million flood defence scheme for Otley.

Plans designed to protect riverside homes from future flooding, and involving the creation of a long embankment on land beside Billams Hill, were lodged in October.

They were drawn up following a lengthy period of research and consultation by Leeds City Council, the Environment Agency and engineering consultants WSP.

The work would see a tall bund and adjoining flood wall built between Otley Bridge and Newall Mount and also involve alterations to the course of Kell Beck.

The scheme has been broadly welcomed by councillors and residents but now two of the key landowners have registered their opposition.

Otley builder Richard Houldsworth bought the former Bridge End cattle market site, on the eastern edge of which much of the new embankment would be built, in 2013 - with hopes of creating a community centre and parking area.

Mr Houldsworth acknowledges that the town, which flooded badly three times at the end of 2015, needs flood defences. But he believes the current scheme would needlessly hamper his plans and the activities of fellow landowners like Marshall's Amusements, which runs a fun fair during Otley Show.

As well as objecting he has sent the council details of an alternative scheme, which would see a longer bund created on the other (western) side of the site.

He said: "I agree with having a bund I just don't agree with the position of it. I also don't agree that there's a need to put steel piles in, to a depth of 9 metres, which I believe creates a major expense.

"There are similar bunds to the one we're proposing at Castley and at Pateley Bridge and they've worked."

Mr Houldsworth accepts that he has been consulted about the current plans but believes the process only paid the landowners 'lip service'.

His objection letter points out that the proposals would create a major problem regarding access to the fairground land. It says: "Whilst this is not land in our ownership the obvious implication is that access will look to be gained direct from our ownership which we simply will not allow under any circumstances and will resist, with appropriate legal force, should this scheme be granted approval.

"Not only do we object to the imposition the current proposal places on us, we also strongly object to the way it forces a neighbourly dispute with an adjacent landowner we have always enjoyed a very amicable working relationship with."

An objection from Sandra Wright of Marshall's Amusements backs that position. It states: "I strongly object to the proposed bund. It would be the end of our fun fair which has been held over 70 years on Otley Show weekend.

"We are to lose our entrance. To add insult to injury, the safest area for our rides and heavy vehicles would then, in our opinion, become a Flood Plain?

"We fully agree with the need for flood defences. The scheme proposed by Mr Richard Houldsworth is one we could fully endorse. We hope you would consider this as a viable alternative."

Comments about the flood defence proposal - planning reference 19/06219/FU - are being received up until November 22 and will be considered b South and West Plans Panel when it comes to debate the scheme.