Hunslet riverside residents call for dialogue over flood scheme


Residents of the h2010 development near Knostrop Cut on the River Aire are raising objections to part of the Flood Alleviation Scheme, which is currently going through the planning system.

H2010 flats with Knostrop Quay river arm to the left. Photo Jeremy Morton
H2010 flats with Knostrop Quay river arm to the left.
Photo Jeremy Morton

Residents are concerned about the small basin known as Knostrop Quay River Arm, which is directly outside their homes. The plans suggest that this might be turned into a wetland habitat with a culvert linking it to the river, or more controversially filled in to create a garden area. Comments on the planning application close this Thursday (30 January 2014).

Peter Laslo, who lives in the H2010 development told South Leeds Life:

“Firstly we want some clarity – what exactly is being proposed? This arm of the river is full of wildlife with nesting swans and other birds. A wetland area sounds OK, but filling it in is not acceptable.

“People here paid a premium price for a riverside property. If this arm of the river is filled in we won’t have riverside properties any more.”

Another objection come from Aire Action Leeds, a partnership involving Leeds City Council, the Environment Agency, the Canal & River Trust and Yorkshire Water. They are similarly concerned about the vagueness of the plans for the river arm, but are also not keen on the Trans Pennine Trail being relocated to the north bank.

Knostrop Cut 03

Residents acknowledge that the arm attracts litter and rubbish, but say they are prepared to volunteer to help keep it clear.

The Leeds flood plan includes removing the strip of land between the river and Knostrop Cut, part of the Aire and Calder Navigation, merging the two waterways and allowing water to move more swiftly out of the city centre. Currently the Trans Pennine Trail runs along this strip and the plans allow for this to be diverted to the north bank.

You can view full details of the plans via the Council website at then search for application number 13/03191/FU. Comments on the scheme can be submitted on the same site, but must be submitted by this Thursday (30 January 2014).

The entire flood defence scheme scheme will cost over £50m with £32.5m coming from the government. It is designed to protect 3,000 homes and 500 businesses (employing 18,000 people) from flooding. The current plans also include moveable weirs at Crown Point and Knostrop and remove the need for high flood walls in the city centre.

6 Replies to “Hunslet riverside residents call for dialogue over flood scheme”

  1. In all the material about this proposed scheme that’s in the public domain no explanation has been given about how the FAS is actually supposed to work. Given the technical resources that should be available to the Environment Agency, I would expect a computer simulation of a flooding event to have been created which would clearly show how excess water would be diverted. Equally, I would expect computer simulations to be available for comparison, including
    (A) alternative solutions e.g. 1.6m barriers near Leeds Bridge &amp The Calls
    (B) the current situation i.e. without any new flood defences, which would show areas likely to be flooded.

    Should these simulations be made available to the general public, the expected efficacy of the proposed scheme would surely be clear for all to see.

  2. I’m not very happy about loosing 600m of Gibraltar Island as I have walked down there many times over the last 3 years and I would like to know exactly why it maybe lost. At the moment during flood conditions British Waterways close the Lock gates at Old Mill Lane so why not keep them open? Surely keeping the gates open during floods would have the same effect as water spilling from the river to the canal over what used to be Gibraltar Island.
    As for the quay at the moment it is just a muddy puddle that collects more silt and rubbish every time there is high water. I personally would like to see it developed into a wildlife garden which would be easier to maintain.

  3. @Mark – Absolutely, residents and TPT users would like to gain much more clarity on what these proposed changes actually mean as far as flood defence goes. Simulations would be of great assistance to educate the general public on the actual physical changes.

    @Steve – As a local resident directly overlooking Gibraltar Island (Knostrop Cut) as well as the Knostrop Quay river arm, I went out to speak personally to two Works Engineers from Canal &amp River Trust (formerly British Waterways). They told me that by removing the cut and adding moveable weirs, it would enable Leeds City Council (LCC) to cut approximately 30cm from the flood defence walls spanning from the city centre to this area – and save LCC lots of money. Also, the original Flood Alleviation Scheme (FAS) didn’t propose the infilling of the Knostrop River Arm either. It wasn’t until local residents of h2010 development complained about the poor upkeep of this river arm, that LCC proposed to fill it all in. So, the removal of the Knostrop Cut and filing in the Knostrop Quay river arm are cost-saving exercises at this point and nothing else from what I can see.

    1. On top of it all, it’s evident that Leeds City Council isn’t making much effort in positively developing the immediate area as there was a looming proposal to erect a waste treatment plant on the north bank. Thankfully, that proposal was rejected in November 2013, but locals now have to be vigilant in seeking out and objecting to any other such plans.

  4. Hi Sandra
    I’m not in a position to question the technical reasons for the removal of Gibraltar Island it just seemed a bit odd that the gates at the Old Mill Lane end was closed during floods.
    I’m a resident of Hunslet and my daughter has had a flat on the development for nearly three years
    so I get down there quiet a lot and I’ve watched the decline of the quay over the years. I don’t really want to see the quay go as it is a breeding ground for many fish but the problem for me is that every year after the floods the water level drops due to silting up. It would also be better if the swans found somewhere else to nest, they have only raised one brood in three years the other two nests were lost to vandalism and floods.

  5. Below is a recent email from Andrew Windress, the LCC Planning Officer responsible for coordinating the draft proposal for the Leeds FAS, to Councillor Patrick Davey.

    In summary, 
    (i) there isn’t a cost comparison between removing the cut &amp erecting flood barriers in the city centre 
    (ii) nor is any consideration given to the aesthetic impact to the area that the proposed scheme will cause
    (iii) justification for removal of the wooden bridge is fatuous
    (iv) it’s accepted that infilling the canal basin area is unnecessary.

    From: Windress, Andrew
    Sent: 04 February 2014 09:27
    Cc: Davey, Cllr Patrick Nash, Cllr Elizabeth
    Subject: RE: planning reference 13/03191/FU

    Cllr Davey

    I can confirm the FAS scheme has been presented to the City Plans Panel in October 2013 and the Panel resolved to defer and delegate approval.  Follow a slight delay I am now in the process of issuing the decision.  That approval will include a number of conditions that require further details to be submitted on all elements of the scheme.  It was agreed at Panel that Ward Members would be consulted on the relevant details as and when they are submitted.  The application has been widely publicised through the formal planning process in addition to the extensive consultation carried out by the FAS team.

    The removal of Knostrop Cut does increase capacity and the removal of part of Knostrop Cut allows the walls in the City Centre to be on average 30cm lower. The real benefit is in terms of the overall length of walls as the removal of the cut means that in many places there is no longer a need for a formal defence therefore there is a reduction in the length of the defences by 814m, and a reduction the length of defences that are greater than 1.2m in height by 338m which is of significant benefit to the City Centre.  The benefits in removing Knostrop cut, in terms of reduced water level, extend as far upstream as Leeds railway station.

    The removal of the Cut requires the relocation of the Trans Pennine Trail.  Having widely consulted the preferred option is to relocate this to the left bank.  The metal bridge will be repaired to stop the loose panels making noise when people walk and cycle over them whilst the wooden bridge does not meet current standards because it is narrow and includes a number of switch-backs and therefore does not provide the necessary sightlines for those on bikes, wheelchairs, buggies etc.  It is envisaged a well-designed ‘level ‘ bridge can be re-introduced to this location to the benefit of all users.

    The canal basin has been subject to significant local interest and I have recently received a number of objections relating to the potential works to the canal basin in front of the H2010 development.  I went to a meeting with the FAS team, Miller Homes, Sustrans, Aire Action Leeds and some of the local residents last Friday where the proposals were explained in more detail and options explored that meet the needs of all interested parties, including the residents.  Options will continue to be explored and residents will be consulted on these options.  It is not necessary to infill the canal basin area as this provides no benefit regarding flood prevention.  However, the FAS team have committed to exploring the potential to enhance this area as part of their scheme along with the developer Miller Homes.

    I attach my Panel report from the October 2013 Panel that provides further information.

    As highlighted above, the application has been through a lengthy and detailed public consultation, technical and planning process to ensure the scheme proposed provides the flood defence necessary whilst also seeking to meet the needs of interested parties.

    I hope this is of use, please do not hesitate to contact me for any further information.



    Andrew Windress
    Principal Planner
    Planning Services
    Leeds City Council
    Tel: 0113 39 51247
    Fax: 0113 24 76518

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