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Flood work delay comes under fire

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By Euan Maxwell
Annan and Eskdale
Flood work delay comes under fire
FOOD HOTSPOT . . . Newington Park in Annan

REPEATED delays to a new flood prevention scheme in Annan have left local residents frustrated and in the dark.

Scottish Water (SW) was initially due to begin work on the £5 million project in February last year to “provide a robust solution” to the flooding of properties around Newington Park caused by heavy rainfall and overflowing sewers.

This would be achieved, it said, by installing an underground rainwater tank and ‘associated above ground kiosks’.

However, work on the scheme didn’t get underway on the given start date in early 2020 and soon after a delay was announced, with SW stating on its website that it would instead commence in February 2021 and take 14 months.

The revised date passed and there were no signs of work getting started in the park. It was then pushed back again to “sometime in June 2021”, with the corporation saying work would begin “once planning permission has been granted”, despite planning permission being granted at the start of October

last year. Upon approval, the council listed a number of conditions and alterations to the plans that needed to be ad- dressed by SW prior to the installation of the tank.

But the local authority didn’t hear from SW again until March 31 this year – nearly two months after the delayed start date.

Annandale South councillor Henry McLelland, who sits on the council’s planning applications committee, said: “After granting the planning permission, there was no correspondence back to planning from Scottish Water for about six months.”

He said it was “pretty clear” that multiple delays have come as a result of Scottish Water’s inaction, adding that the given conditions “weren’t ad- dressed until the 31st of March”.

Cllr McLelland continued: “It’s this six month gap that’s the bit that I would say is very questionable. What probably needs to happen now is the suspensive conditions need to be met.”

Chris Green, who lives on Charles Street in one of the properties at risk of flooding, said: “The start date has been

amended several times with planning consent being cited as one of the reasons for the delay.

“For many residents living in the vicinity of Newington Park, this stop- and-go communication is critical to their sense of security, with the persistent threat of flooding causing genuine angst.

“Scottish Water now appears to be suggesting that the delays are the cause of planning issues. These coupled with little or no up-to-the-minute information being shared, causes further anxieties for those living in the affected area.”

Furthermore, Chris added that weather patterns suggest the area could be due flooding later this year.

A Scottish Water spokeswoman said: “We have experienced a slight delay to this essential project to address internal and external flooding in part of Annan. We are working closely with Dumfries and Galloway Council to address some outstanding external planning issues. We want to reassure our customers we are fully committed to delivering this for the benefit of the community as soon as possible.”