OTLEY'S MP is demanding assurances that the town's Flood Alleviation Scheme will be delivered on time.

Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds North West) has taken the step following flooding in the town on Sunday, February 9 when the River Wharfe burst its banks and covered low lying fields and roads.

The Government announced £2 million of funding for flood defences in Otley in 2016 after the town had suffered a succession of severe floods at the end of the previous year.

A planning application for a £3.3 million scheme that would involve building a long embankment to the west of Billams Hill, from Otley Bridge to Newall Mount, was lodged last year.

Drawn up following detailed research by Leeds City Council, the Environment Agency and engineering consultants WSP, the project is scheduled to be completed by this winter.

Concerned at the close scrape Otley suffered at the weekend - when riverside homes narrowly escaped being flooded - Mr Sobel has written to the council, Environment Agency and the Secretary of State for the Environment for reassurances about that timescale.

He said: "The scenes over the weekend were very worrying indeed and we all feared a repetition of Otley's Boxing Day floods in 2015.

"I applaud the work of Leeds City Council staff who were quick to respond on Sunday and who went above and beyond to ensure the safety of Otley residents.

"Thankfully, as far as we can tell, flood waters did not permeate houses.

"This near miss underlines the urgency for the flood alleviation scheme.

"I have written to the Environment Agency and the Flood and Risk management team to confirm a date for getting the necessary technical assurances and planning permission needed for the detailed design and construction phases to start.

"Otley will get its flood alleviation scheme. I hope this will see the scenes of last weekend consigned to the past."

In his letter to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Theresa Villiers, Mr Sobel has asked for clarification about government funding for the work.

He wrote: "Over the weekend, Otley experienced a very near miss as the River Wharfe broke its banks due to heavy rainfall. Thankfully, unlike in 2015, this did not permeate nearby houses.

"As it stands, we are awaiting the National Board to give Technical Assurance to the scheme which will release the funding from the Government and, provided planning permission is granted, will see the scheme delivered by winter, 2020.

"Could you please provide me with assurances that the funding will be available in full once the Technical Assurance is given?"

The city council's Executive Board agreed an outline business case for the scheme, and to provide the estimated extra £1.374 million that will be needed to fund it, last June.