Kirkstall: £112 million flood defence plans to be debated

Aerial view of the floods along Kirkstall Road, Leeds, in 2015.

Initial proposals for £112 million scheme designed to protect homes and businesses in Kirkstall valley and Leeds will be considered by councillors this week.

Leeds City Council’s city plans panel are due to scrutinise proposals for phase two of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme at a meeting on Thursday, June 21.

The plans follow the Boxing Day floods of 2016 when the River Aire broke its banks and left part of Kirkstall, Kirkstall Road, Burley, Armley and the city centre under several feet of water.

aire place studios floods
Boxing Day floods at Aire Place Studios, off Kirkstall Road

The scheme covers a stretch of waterway totalling 8km in length.

It is mainly centred on the River Aire and extends from the city centre through the Kirkstall Road corridor, along to Armley Mills, onto St Ann’s Mill, passing Kirkstall Bridge/Kirkstall Retail Park, south of Kirkstall Abbey and onto Calverley, where a water storage area is proposed.

It finally reaches the Bradford Metropolitan District boundary at Apperley Bridge.

Proposals include:

  • Improving the performance of the flood plain at Calverley by providing an embankment  to hold back the flow during floods.
  • Providing linear defences at low lying locations to protect buildings. The selection of defence type will be appropriate to each location and include property level protection, embankments, masonry clad concrete walls, sheet piles and glazed panels. These walls vary from 1.2m to 1.5m high (with some isolated sections at 2.5m high)
  • Removal of river obstructions including replacing the redundant bridge at Milford Place with a new bridge, raising of the existing pedestrian footbridge at Milford Place, removal of redundant sub-structure to the Redcote Lane bridge and removal of a redundant pipe bridge adjacent to Washington Street.
  • Provide new sluices, flap valves and flow control structures to protect the listed building at Armley Mills Industrial Museum.
  • Provide new flow control structures to manage flood risk from the historic goits at Kirkstall Abbey and St Ann’s Mills.
  • Pumping measures for surface water runoff.
  • Scour protection to river banks.

A report to be considered by councillors saysd:

“Although historical flood events have been recorded along the Aire since 1866, in more recent years, there have now been four significant flood events since 2000, with the worst, Boxing Day 2015, seeing damaging flood levels to communities across West and Central Leeds, which affected 678 commercial properties and 3,368 residential properties.”

Councillors will offer feedback on the scheme on Thursday, ahead of a formal planning application being submitted. The scheme is also subject to securing finding from central government.

The report can be read in full here.


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