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Letters | 4th February 2022

Exact cost unknown


‘In reply to some statements in Councillor Tait’s column in the Eskdale and Liddesdale Advertiser on 27th January, first in regard to the George Street wall: it certainly has had repairs done to it in the 48 years our family has had the house here, most notably after the storm of 2015, when parts of it were damaged. This process of repairing a wall bordering on a river, which both excludes flood water and shores up the street itself, is called ‘maintenance’, and should be carried out more often than it is.

This wall in the nearly 200 years of its existence has performed sterling service, and, with proper, regular maintenance, we would trust it above the proposed new flood defences, which would require the wall’s removal and quite possibly result in the collapse of George Street itself. No details have been given to us by Dumfries and Galloway Council to explain just how a new wall would be put in the old wall’s place, while preserving us in the interim both from flooding and the collapse of the street, because according to those we have spoken to, all these details ‘will be worked out at a future date, when the design has been approved’.

In the same vein and for the same reason, exact costings for the whole scheme are not being and cannot be given, because, we have been told, precise figures are also awaiting approval of the scheme. Councillor Tait has ‘no idea’ where Ditch The Drain’s figure of £75 million comes from. We, the writers of this letter, have no idea where Dumfries and Galloway Council’s incredibly low figure of £10 million comes from, when a scheme of this magnitude is being driven forward without independent oversight and in such a topsy-turvy fashion that no-one can give any assurances as to how it will be built nor how much extra cost will be involved in addressing issues that the scheme has either ignored, been unaware of, or glossed over, such as the dual-purpose sewage and runoff drains throughout the town, the existence of the dyeworks, and the narrowness and fragility of the streets bordering all three rivers

As to suggesting an alternative design, George Street at least was given one soon after the very high river levels of 2005 and 2006 (higher than any events since) and the subsequent removal of gravel in spring 2006. A team of engineers sent by Dumfries and Galloway Council examined the wall, pronounced it sound, and told us that all that was needed was an additional two courses of stone added to the top. We would have been perfectly happy with this, and it would have had the additional merit of being in keeping with the area’s conservation status, the wall itself being a listed construction.

Margaret Walty and Roy Harling

George Street’


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