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Flood objectors offered support in ‘Sands fight

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Flood objectors offered support in 'Sands fight

AN OFFER of support is being extended to the 344 people who have formally objected to a £25 million Whitesands flood defence project.

Letters from Dumfries and Galloway Council went out to objectors this week, acknowledging their objection, addressing some of the main concerns and explaining how objections could be withdrawn.

But as a public enquiry looms, a statement from John Dowson and David Slater from the Save Our Sands Car Parks and River Views campaign group said: “We’re urging people not to withdraw their objections or their letters unless they’re fully satisfied, and we don’t think that these letters will satisfy many people, if anyone.

“We would urge people to make sure that ultimately their voice is heard, if necessary at a public enquiry.
“We are aware that this might worry some people, so what we are saying today is that the Save Our Sands group will ensure that anybody who wants to go the public enquiry and have their voice head will receive support from us — both in a professional sense and a back-up sense.

“Anybody who feels that they want that support will be able to get in touch with us at the time.”

The campaigners are also seeking to enlist legal, planning and engineering backing for objectors.
A report to councillors last month stated it was ‘unlikely that a consensus will ever be reached’ over the controversial flood prevention and regeneration project.

Opponents have raised concerns over issues such as the costs of the project, impact on car parking, the loss of river views, the risk of increasing flooding elsewhere on River Nith, and the impact on the town of up to two years of construction work.

Last month councillors voted by 25 to 16 to approve the scheme in order to take it to a public enquiry — which had been agreed as the course of action in the Labour and SNP coalition pact after May’s council elections.

But while the council will ask the Scottish Government for a public enquiry, the Save Our Sands campaigners say they will ask the SNP Government to commit not to fund a scheme which they say ‘does not have community support’.


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