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Headsets give virtual look at £15m flood scheme

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Headsets give virtual look at £15m flood scheme

A VIRTUAL reality headset is to give the public an advance look at the Whitesands flood protection scheme.

Dumfries and Galloway Council will launch a further stage of consultation in coming weeks, showing off plans for a £15 million scheme developed to counter flooding from the River Nith and regenerate Whitesands.
Councillors were yesterday given an advance preview, and Lochar Ward member Jeff Leaver said: “I think the technology was very impressive – it is obviously state-of-the-art – and certainly with the headset it is as if you’re actually standing one the various bridges and looking all different directions.”
The virtual reality headsets allows users to view the raised embankment walkway running the length of the DG1 side of the Whitesands from fixed positions on the three main bridges.
Meanwhile, a 3D model fly-through takes the viewer from Greensands, down Whitesands to St Michael’s Bridge and on through Dock Park.
Councillor Leaver said: “What we’ve had to date has been very superficial, with stick figures, etc, whereas here it is almost as if you are there, gazing around.”
He added: “The design has been changed slightly. I think what they’ve done is moved parts of the embankment further back, away from the river, which means you get a more gradual slope and it doesn’t need to be as high as well.
“So it does actually become a very attractive part of the town to walk through, and I think once it’s up and running it will be a huge asset to the town.”
The Whitesands project team were on hand to deliver the preview yesterday together with representatives from principal designers Mouchel and Gillespies.
Looking ahead to the public exhibitions, dates of which have not yet been revealed, Councillor Leaver says he hopes the public will ‘come along with an open mind’.
Strong opposition has been voiced against the plans, with a petition having gathered over 6000 signatures.
David Slater from campaign group Save Our Sands Car Parks and River Views said: “We asked if we could get permission to see this today, but it was refused.”
Addressing the project, he added: “Generally the people don’t want earth banks on the Sands, and I don’t think the people will accept this.”

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