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News | 27th February 2020
 

Objections rise over flood protection plan

 
 
 

Walls and embankments lining the rivers are not very popular

flood protection scheme for Langholm, which would line the Esk and Wauchope with walls and embankments, has encountered strong opposition in the town.
Councillor Archie Dryburgh, vice-chairman of the economy and resources committee, reminded people that the chosen scheme would go forward to the Scottish government which, hopefully, would pay 80 per cent of the estimated £8m cost.
He said: “Over the past couple of weeks we have seen changing weather patterns which are
endangering people’s lives when there is high water.
“The ground is saturated at the moment so anything which prevents flooding in the area, obviously, we’re going to
support it.
“I hope people will have their say. Not everyone will agree with us but we need to do something. I’m pleased to see so many people here giving their opinions.”
On the issue of dredging, he said there was a greater
emphasis on the environmental aspect and legislation had changed. The council had to abide by the law.
He said he would like to see dredging happen but it was only one of a number of things which would help.
Asked whether having a 1 in 200 flood protection scheme would make it easier for
developers to get planning permission in the town, he replied: “It’s not that you can’t build on a flood plain but you must have measures to stop flooding to your property.
“As soon as we have the
project ready and have funding in place, I would like to see a start on it but I want to make sure the community is communicated with all the way through.”
He was happy that the
Buccleuch Park project group were involved and they were talking to the council’s flood team and the consultants.
The preferred option put to people included a shallow overflow channel, 50 metres wide, through Buccleuch Park, along with walls with see-through panels in Caroline Street,
Elizabeth Street and George Street and embankments on the waterside and in Mary Street.
There would be a pile wall from Charlotte Street to the sewage works.
The heights of the barriers would vary from two metres in Caroline Street, between two metres and 1.2m in Elizabeth Street, 1.6m in George Street and 2m on the waterside.
Tessa Lumley was concerned about the wall along the path to the Co-op.
She said: “It’s well used but it’s in danger of becoming an alley with a concrete wall on one side and the wall of the building on the other. It could become a place where kids congregate.”

Jimmy Hotson said if it wasn’t broken, why fix it? He acknowledged it was a worry for residents in George Street but the river came up fast and went down fast.
He said the council promised to do something about Holmwood but it had never been done, despite water getting into people’s
houses.
He didn’t want to see what happened in Newcastleton happen in Langholm but the water had two escape routes here: the park and the Castleholm.
Sheila Little, who lives in Thomas Telford Road, said: “I think it’s taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut.”
She acknowledged the effects of climate change but Langholm had not had the problems which Newcastleton had had.
She added: “My brother and I own a house at the bottom of Charlotte Street and insurance companies have no record of any claim in years.”
Julia Lydon has the house on the riverbank in Charlotte Street. It has been in her family for 75 years and has never flooded.
She said: “I think there are other means to tackle this problem at the moment rather than go to all this expense when people don’t want it.
“I think we should dredge the river but I’ve been told it’s out of the question under any circumstances. But I’ve talked to people and it seems to be the preferred option before going down this route.
“I think this scheme will destroy the whole character of the town. We love walking by the river. I walk with my dog and it gives me so much pleasure.
Another resident said he would be very sad if there were no gates in the embankment on the waterside. Turn to pages 12 and 13 for more comments from residents

 
 
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