AN end is in sight of the flooding misery which has plagued residents of South Port in Selkirk for the past seven years.
Work is now well under way on a £80,000 contract to construct seven new gulleys which will stop surface water “ponding” in the residential area whenever there is heavy rain.
The task, which began at the beginning of the month, is being carried out for Scottish Water by Scottish Borders Council’s in-house SBc Roads squad and will take an estimated further four weeks to complete.
“There have been numerous attempts in the past to solve this ongoing problem which has made life very difficult for us all,” said South Port resident Malcolm Redpath this week. “Everyone who has been affected is delighted that a permanent solution has been found.”
At the moment the work is confined to creating new gulleys in the tarred area of the Bog Park, but letters are due to go out at next week informing residents that The Loan, a notorious rat run but an important access route, will be closed to all traffic while a new drainage pipe is installed.
While welcoming the improvements, childminder Christine Kennaway of The Loan believes communications about the work could have been better handled by SBC.
“We got a letter on the Friday telling us the work would start on the Monday which is very short notice and I know many residents on the other side of the street received no prior notification,” said Mrs Kennaway.
“The timing could certainly have been better because it means the tarred area of the park, which is so popular for ball games, will be out of commission for next week’s half-term school holiday.”
A spokesperson for SBC told The Wee Paper: “We realise the letters were issued at short notice. However, it was felt that due to the initial phase of the works being mostly within the playground and garage area the majority of properties on The Loan are not affected at this time.
“As detailed in our letter, further notification of the road closure and any possible restrictions will be issued as works progress. Due to the time of year and our commitment to providing a winter service, timescales for the programme are still not confirmed.
“With this in mind, we thought it would be better to issue further notification as works progress to give more accurate closure dates.”
Mr Redpath told us: “Considering so many residents, both owner occupiers and SBHA tenants have been inconvenienced by flooding for so many years, I cannot believe a few weeks’ inconvenience is a major problem.”
He also praised Selkirkshire councillor Kenneth Gunn for “keeping up the pressure” on both Scottish Water and SBC to come up with a permanent engineering solution.
Councillor Gunn admitted he had spent “several years of badgering” in pursuit of the upgrade.
“Hopefully, when this work is completed, the locals will be able to sleep easy in their beds and even get away on holiday without worrying that their homes may be flooded when they get back,” he added.