Cash boost for campaign
Fighting fund hits £4k
A fighting fund to combat the hotly-disputed Whitesands flood prevention scheme has hit £4,000.
The money is earmarked by the Save Our Sands group to pay for professional advice from architects, town planners, hydrology engineers and lawyers.
Organisers have set a deadline for today to reach a target of £5,000 to put towards fees.
And SOS spokesman John Dowson said: “We still have a couple of pledges to come in and they were for big amounts.
“So, we are fairly hopeful we can reach our target. The donations so far have been terrific.
“And it’s absolutely wonderful that all walks of the community have contributed to the cause.”
Dumfries and Galloway Council have proposed building a permanent barrier to cope with flooding, but SoS and business bosses on the water front have objected.
They insist that a £25million barrier would block the scenic views of the River Nith and Devorgilla Bridge and have also protested that the three-year timescale to complete it would cause chaos.
The SOS group have taken out two adverts in the Standard appealing for professionals to help them out ahead of the Scottish Government’s sevenweek public inquiry which starts on November 6.
And members are arguing that a cheaper version of flood protection is available and with less disruption to the town’s residents and visitors.
They also criticised the council splashing out £90,000 on solicitors’ fees to an Edinburgh firm.
Mr Dowson said: “We have already had legal advice while town planners and engineers from outside the town also offered help and support on a voluntary basis which is wonderful.
“But we are going to need much more intense professional support to fight this and our resources would never match the £90,000 the council has already spent on big city lawyers.
“However, we have to battle on for the sake of the town and its residents.”
The SOS adverts have highlighted what they insist will be “three years of disruption” caused by work on the council’s planned protection scheme.
They also claim costs could soar to £35m and added: “Many car parking spaces would be lost if the scheme went ahead. The car parking on the Whitesands serves many businesses, including those on Bank Street, Friars Vennel, Irish Street and, of course, the High Street.
“The council have not carried out an impact assessment on the High Street and retail trade – which is in enough trouble already.
“The opposers will be urging the council to consider the alternatives available. In particular, they will be drawing attention to the fact that the council’s scheme is a 365-days-a-year barrier, as opposed to alternatives that rise with the water level, therefore only obstructing the view of the river for those 24 to 48 hours a year when flooding actually occurs.
“More than £4m has already been spent on the scheme since 2011, notably on architects and lawyers from outwith Dumfries and Galloway, even though there are numerous excellent professionals living within the region.“
Appealing for cash John Dowson of Save Our Sands