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Community | 25th February 2021
 

Second year of devastation for Newcastleton

Up to 30 homes flooded as river Liddel burst banks

 
 
 

ONE year and one week after devastating floods hit Newcastleton during Storm Dennis, villagers are once again mopping up after the Liddel Water burst its banks on Tuesday.

It is estimated that between 20 and 50 homes were flooded. Some people had only just returned home after last February’s floods, while others were still not moved in.

The village’s community council chairman has now called for immediate action from the authorities, demanding short-term solutions until a long-term solution can be put in place.

The village nearly flooded last Friday but the river held.

Greg Cuthbert said properties from the middle of the village towards the south took the brunt of the flooding.

He added: “Thankfully, many people now have flood gates and air vent covers and most held but some didn’t because the water came through the walls.

“Some people had been in their houses for only a few weeks and are now out of them again. It’s a desperately sad situation.

“Some of them have children and this is going to affect their education, with COVID-19 another issue to deal with.

“The council was out yesterday with sandbags and did as much as they could as did our local volunteers.

“All the roads into the village were closed overnight which caused problems for the emergency services. It was very dangerous for them coming over the hill from Langholm.

“The aftermath for everyone is mentally draining. People have been flooded for the second time in 53 weeks and it’s terrible.”

He said they now had to think about the future of the village and there had to be a multi-agency response.

He said: “We’re still struggling to get our voice heard: he community council, community trust and resilience team but it’s difficult to get heard at the top table.

“We need short-term measures using local knowledge such as gravel extraction at the pinchpoints.

“SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency), Scottish Borders Council and the Scottish government must bring forward the flood plan and not wait for another several years.

“There needs to be some quick thinking. Those, who can move mountains, must start to move them.

Pauline and Nicol Elliot saw their house being surrounded by water but not flooded.

Pauline, who leads the resilience team, was up all night.

She said: “The river rose very quickly. By 6pm it was up to near the beech tree in South Liddle Street which is the flood trigger.

“The streets flooded were South Liddle Street, George Street, Walter Street and Stopford Street.

“I’m not sure how many properties in total yet but I think also in Buccleuch Terrace, South Hermitage Street and at Holmfoot.

“We opened rest centres in the village hall and No8 Club and communications were co-ordinated from the health centre.”

She added: “I think property owners were much more prepared and everything worked well but COVID-19 restrictions limited what we could do.

“The incident highlighted the issue of flood defences and management in the village.

Alistair Telford, whose parents’ house was flooded for the second time, feels let down by Scottish Borders Council for the lack of action since the previous flood.

He said: “They could have partly dredged the river at Holm brig which is part of the problem.

“The resilience team here are brilliant but we feel very let down by the council which has had all year to take action.”

A council spokesperson said: “We had staff in the village overnight alongside colleagues from Police Scotland and Scottish Fire & Rescue Service helping the community.

“We are assessing the extent of any damage to properties and roads and will work closely with our partners and people in the village to aid recovery.

“One home was evacuated and both the B6357 and B6399 into the village had to close.”

 
 
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