Kirkstall meeting will discuss residents’ concerns over Goit

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Kirkstall Abbey. Picture from Google Maps (July 2022)

By John Baron

A public meeting has been amidst concerns a ‘beautiful’ river channel near Kirkstall Abbey has become ‘a mess’.

Community campaigners have raised concerns about the Goit at Kirkstall Abbey Park, the current water flow and the impact of the Flood Alleviation Scheme on this.

The meeting will be held at St Stephen’s Church Hall, Norman Street on Monday 5 June from 6-7pm and offers residents a chance to meet with local councillors and senior officers working on flood defences at Kirkstall Abbey Park.

Kirkstall Valley Action Group have said that the flow of water towards the goit was cut off around 20 years ago when the sluice gates – which control the amount of water being let into the goit from the River Aire – were closed. Residents have campaigned constantly for water to be allowed back into the goit without success.

The meeting has been organised by Kirkstall’s councillors Hanna Bithell, Andy Rontree and Fiona Venner.

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “We are aware of ongoing concerns regarding the low water levels within Kirkstall goit. Our ecologists have carried out further investigations and can confirm that no wildlife will be affected by the low water levels. The goit has experienced low flow several times in the past, associated with the historic sluice gates upstream, this is an issue that pre-dates the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme Phase 2 (FAS2) works.”

They went on to say that the Flood Alleviation Scheme 2 (FAS2) has been designed to have “no impact on the levels within the goit when completed” and that the works will be adaptable to allow “goit flow improvements”.

Kirkstall Abbey goit is an artificial channel by the side of Kirkstall Abbey Park running by the River Aire. The goit was established so that water could be used to power the nearby mills and dates back to the Victorian period.

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