VILLAGERS who feared their plans for a new sports complex could be ruined by the threat of flooding are hoping the Environment Agency will drop its objections to the project.

Council planners have deferred a decision on Brompton Parish Council's bid to create the £125,000 centre at the village's sports field to allow the agency more time to consider.

The agency objected to the development because it would be sited on a flood plain, but community leaders insist they will not get another chance for a similar complex.

The scheme has been prom-ised up to £50,000 by a developer, and villagers will be lobbying representatives and councillors at a site visit on January 2.

Bert Langthorne, chairman of the Brompton Recreation Association, said the building would be above the highest water mark recorded during the November floods.

Meanwhile, Hambleton District Council is taking emergency action to help villages deal with any future flooding crisis.

Hundreds of sandbags are to be delivered to vulnerable villages throughout the area, with homeowners and traders warned to stay alert.

The authority hopes to have stocks in at least 15 villages early in the New Year, and farmers and parish councils have been asked to find storage points for bags to allow residents to get to stocks quickly.

Chief executive Peter Simpson said: "We have had a very positive response to our request for storage areas for sandbags.

"Everyone here at Hambleton is working hard to try to prevent such widespread disruption happening again.

"Our floodlines are on constant alert and our emergency control room can be reopened very quickly. We are all on high alert and intend to remain that way for the foreseeable future."

Council officers are working with other agencies to identify vulnerable places where preventative work can be carried out.

Mr Simpson said he hoped the Environment Agency would be able to issue flood alerts for all watercourses in the future.

"Issuing warnings for smaller watercourses, like Cod Beck in Thirsk, would be a great step forward," he said