LIBERAL DEMOCRAT leader Tim Farron has launched a withering attack over the Government’s handling of the winter floods claiming repairs to the damage would be progressing faster if they had struck the Home Counties.
Mr Farron accused ministers of losing interest in flood-hit communities in the North as national media interest wanes.
His intervention came as North Yorkshire County Council announced a new plan to provide a temporary footbridge in Tadcaster following the partial collapse of the town’s 300-year-old bridge at the height of the floods.
Mr Farron said: “You cannot have a Northern Powerhouse when bridges are broken, businesses are on the edge and communities have been ripped apart.
“The government has lost interest now the cameras have gone.
“If this was the Home Counties work would already have begun and staff would be made to work 24/7 to deliver the repairs urgently.
“The Tories just don’t care about the North. It has been neglected and short-changed.”
An earlier plan to provide a temporary bridge in Tadcaster was scuppered by the refusal of the Sam Smith brewery to give the necessary access to the land.
It has now come up with a new proposal which will see the footbridge built further downstream with access from the Selby district car park to the east and Tadcaster Albion’s car park and Bridge Street on the west side.
County Coun Chris Metcalfe said: “North Yorkshire County Council would like to thank Tadcaster Town Council, Selby District Council, the local MP Nigel Adams and in particular Tadcaster Albion Football Club for their support in finding a route for the community of Tadcaster to come together again.
“Past days have involved some very difficult negotiation with Sam Smith’s Old Brewery, but the people of Tadcaster are wholly behind the need for a temporary footbridge while the county council’s bridges specialists undertake the painstaking and highly skilled task of reconstructing the town’s historic road bridge.”
The county council also confirmed the A59 at Kex Gill between Harrogate and Skipton is likely to remain closed until at least the end of February as work continues to stabilise a slope above the road.
Leeds City Council is asking the Government to provide £3 million to progress design work for an extension to a flood defence scheme already underway in the city.
The existing project is due for completion in 2017 but will only cover a two-mile stretch of the River Aire running south-east from the centre of Leeds to Thwaite Mills, with additional defences in Woodlesford.
The extension being proposed by the council would also provide vital protection to homes and businesses along Kirkstall Road – one of the areas of Leeds hit hardest by Boxing Day’s floods.