An £80,000 upgrade of Otley’s flood defences is set to go ahead after the Government agreed to release funding for the scheme.

The money from DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) will be spent on repairing damaged defence at Wharfemeadows Park.

Otley and Yeadon councillor Ryk Downes said the work would help safeguard the area from potential flooding.

He said defences at Wharfemeadows Park were in need of repair after previous flooding left them with structural damage.

Without the work, pedestrians and properties would have become increasingly at risk of future flooding, he added.

The announcement of funding comes after Leeds city centre received a further amount of £32.5 million, also through DEFRA, to improve its flood defences.

Councillor Downes said: “I welcome the financial support that DEFRA has provided us with to carry out this work.

“Ensuring the safety and well being of homeowners and pedestrians is vitally important.

“This work will extend the longevity of these defences and give residents in Otley more peace of mind.”

In September Leeds City Council’s Parks department temporarily closed the entrances to Wharfemeadows Park as water levels rose during a period of torrential rainfall.

Explaining the decision a council spokesman said: “The river at Wharfemeadows park has risen to a point that it may soon flood onto the park pathways. Given that the park is used quite extensively by the local school children and in accordance with our Water Safety Risk Assessment we will be closing off access to the park until the river levels lower. We do not expect the river to flood the adjacent houses but the Environment Agency is monitoring the situation.”

The flooding which forced the closure of the park caused major disruption through the area with some drivers forced to abandon their cars between Pool-in-Wharfedale and Otley after the River Wharfe overflowed.