WA­TER AGENCY ANGERS TOWN

Up­roar over unan­nounced work

The Galloway News - - FRONT PAGE - Stu­art Gille­spie

Scot­tish Wa­ter has been forced to apol­o­gise af­ter fail­ing to give ad­vance warn­ing about ma­jor road­works.

Res­i­dents in Dalry were stunned when work­men ar­rived unan­nounced last week to in­stal a new wa­ter main.

Outraged com­mu­nity coun­cil­lors dis­cov­ered the work could take as long as five weeks to com­plete, caus­ing chaos in the town and hurt­ing lo­cal busi­nesses.

Fol­low­ing the out­cry, Scot­tish Wa­ter have moved the goal­posts and now aim to have the work com­pleted by the end of next week.

They have even of­fered to do­nate £500 to the com­mu­nity as a good­will ges­ture.

Com­mu­nity coun­cil chair­man Andi Holmes said: “They have taken big steps to solve the prob­lems, they just needed a poke. It should never have hap­pened in the first place.

“It was only when my phone call was put through that they re­alised they hadn’t given any no­tice.

“Bill El­liot, their com­mu­ni­ties man­ager, has made a great ef­fort to rec­tify the mis­takes.”

Mr Holmes com­pared the ef­forts made by the wa­ter agency to those of Scot­tishPower which has also been work­ing in the town.

He said: “Scot­tishPower came to the com­mu­nity coun­cil, they spoke to us be­fore­hand and did a pre­sen­ta­tion in the town hall. It wasn’t per­fect but they made a big ef­fort to make sure people knew what was go­ing on and we were happy with it.

“Scot­tish Wa­ter turned up and started dig­ging holes. All we knew was when they put a let­ter through the door saying the wa­ter would be off for five hours that day. They hadn’t told any­one. I phoned Scot­tish Wa­ter and ob­vi­ously word got round that they hadn’t spoken to any­one. They sent emails but they should have done that weeks ago.”

No homes have been left per­ma­nently with­out wa­ter but some are on a tem­po­rary sup­ply and have to boil wa­ter be­fore use. Bot­tled wa­ter is avail­able for el­derly and vulnerable people.

The work has also had a ma­jor im­pact on lo­cal busi­nesses.

Lyn­d­say Wright from Wright’s Shop said: “We’re on one side of the road and the Clachan Inn is on the other side and we were right in the mid­dle of the con­trol area so people weren’t able to stop.

“Hope­fully by the week­end people should be able to park. They should have told us all this be­fore­hand.”

Scot­tish Wa­ter’s Mr El­liot, said: “Nor­mal pro­ce­dure is that cus­tomers are no­ti­fied of any shut off in ad­vance, via hand de­liv­ered post­cards, and we apol­o­gise to any cus­tomers in the area who did not re­ceive a post­card de­tail­ing the dis­rup­tion to their sup­ply and the lack of no­ti­fi­ca­tion for this es­sen­tial work.”

The £58,000 op­er­a­tion will in­stal a 250 me­tre stretch of pipe­line in Main Street to “im­prove se­cu­rity” of sup­ply.

Mr El­liot said en­gi­neers would be work­ing over the week­end aim­ing to fin­ish work by next Fri­day.

Com­plaints Unhappy res­i­dents Will Adam, Andi Holmes, Maggi Kaye and Su­san Cur­rie

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