Flood of complaints over river defences
ENVIRONMENT: Residents claim lack of consultation and voice dissatisfaction at impact of work
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
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.