Flood of com­plaints over river de­fences

EN­VI­RON­MENT: Res­i­dents claim lack of con­sul­ta­tion and voice dis­sat­is­fac­tion at im­pact of work

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - NEWS - PETER JOHN MEIKLEM pmeik­[email protected]­courier.co.uk

The of­fi­cial launch of the £25 mil­lion Al­mond­bank flood de­fences has been mired in con­tro­versy af­ter res­i­dents com­plained the work is in­com­plete and has ru­ined lo­cal gar­dens and the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment.

Com­mu­nity lead­ers have also claimed there was a lack of con­sul­ta­tion with con­trac­tors through­out the process, and said they did not re­ceive an of­fi­cial in­vi­ta­tion to a launch event held ear­lier this week. They say they were only in­formed when they ap­proached the coun­cil for de­tails.

Ap­peals for com­pen­sa­tion from res­i­dents af­fected by the works are con­tin­u­ing.

Kenneth Simp­son, chair­man of Methven and Dis­trict Com­mu­nity Coun­cil, said: “This whole escapade has been a sham­bles as far as the lo­cals are con­cerned.

“From start to fin­ish, de­ci­sions were made with­out our con­sul­ta­tion.”

He said one ex­am­ple was telling lo­cal res­i­dents the Lochty Bridge was to be built in stone, but it was built in brick.

“The list goes on and they keep say­ing un­der the flood Act they can do this or that but have been proved – to the tax­pay­ers’ cost – to have been wrong on sev­eral oc­ca­sions,” he added.

The coun­cil and its con­trac­tor Bal­four Beatty opened the flood de­fences on Tues­day.

The £25m flood-pro­tec­tion scheme in­cludes, raised em­bank­ments, flood walls and ero­sion-pro­tec­tion mea­sures.

An­drew Gilchrist, 55, who lives on the north bank of the River Al­mond, said the work led to the felling of all the ma­ture wood­land along the bank de­spite there be­ing no his­tory of flood­ing at that part of the river.

“The worst thing has been the de­struc­tion of the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment around the Al­mond.

“They started off mark­ing out se­lected trees, but then they just cut them all down.”

A spokes­woman for Perth and Kin­ross Coun­cil ac­knowl­edged the pro­ject has led to vary­ing de­grees of dis­rup­tion for neigh­bour­ing res­i­dents.

She said: “The coun­cil and its con­trac­tor li­aised closely with res­i­dents to ex­plain in de­tail what work needed to hap­pen, and in some in­stances it was nec­es­sary to use parts of res­i­dents’ gar­dens while the works were on­go­ing.

“The re­moval of any trees or changes to the ex­ist­ing en­vi­ron­ment was also kept to the min­i­mum nec­es­sary to al­low for the flood pro­tec­tion mea­sures to be con­structed.

“The flood-pro­tec­tion mea­sures are now sub­stan­tially com­plete – out­stand­ing works on site com­prise ac­com­mo­da­tion works, snag­ging and land­scap­ing.”

“This whole escapade has been a sham­bles as far as the lo­cals are con­cerned. KENNETH SIMP­SON

Pic­ture: Steve MacDougall.

Representatives from Perth and Kin­ross Coun­cil, Bal­four Beatty and WSP mark the open­ing of the new flood de­fences, which have come in for crit­i­cism from lo­cals.

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