A HAWICK councillor has said Teries are still traumatised by the floods of 2005, as a public exhibition outlining the early and medium-term stages of a £10.5million protection scheme was announced, writes Kenny Paterson.
Councillors meeting in Peebles last week approved plans for the exhibition to go ahead next month and for a preferred Hawick flood protection scheme to be presented to them in October this year.
However, a long-term plan to safeguard vulnerable areas of the town will not be available for the public to view. The Executive member for roads and infrastructure, Gordon Edgar, admitted that the authority had limited funding for the project.
Stuart Marshall, also chairman of Hawick Volunteer Flood Group, acknowledges budget restraints are a “huge stumbling block” but believes pressure must be applied to the Scottish Government.
He witnessed the flooding of the River Teviot seven years ago which caused huge damage to nearby homes, while three years ago Commercial Road narrowly avoided being washed away,
Mr Marshall said: “Historically, Hawick has suffered on several occasions in recent years from some major and devastating flooding events.
“I am delighted that next month the people of Hawick will get the opportunity to see first hand some options that could be combined to form a flood protection scheme that is fit for purpose.
“In recent months, my group and the townsfolk in general have welcomed the small flood prevention schemes that have been carried out along the banks of the River Teviot, and in particular at the Duke Street and Mansfield end of the town.
“There can be no doubt that we have come along way in respect of addressing this major issue within the town, but much more needs to be done.”
The Hawick and Denholm representative, whose volunteer group secured 350 sand bags for the town last week, went on: “Many people are still traumatised by the events of 2005 and indeed 2009, with many still struggling to secure household and contents insurance for their properties.
“I am fully aware of the risks but we must all redouble our efforts by seeking to accelerate funding both within the capital budget programme and at the same time try and attract much more support from the Scottish Government.”
Project manager Conor Price added: “These options are about providing Hawick with flood protection against a major flood event, an event larger than the one experienced in October 2005.
“They will require the construction of walls and embankments, and may require the replacement and removal of bridges, to protect your homes and businesses.
“We would like views on these options before we select the preferred combination to make up a flood protection scheme for Hawick.”
The exhibition will go ahead on July 18 and 19 in the Tower Mill.
Meanwhile, a modification to Selkirk’s £19million flood scheme has been approved, which staves off the threat of a public local inquiry.
Doncaster developers Berand Homes had objected to the project, which will shield around 600 homes and 100 businesses – including Bannerfield housing estate, Selkirk Rugby Club and Philiphaugh Community School – following 2003’s devastating floods.
But Berand’s opposition was withdrawn after Scottish Borders Council agreed to move an embankment which is part of the scheme and had affected Berand’s plans for 30 homes on land beside Linglie Road and Cannon Street.
SBC director of environment and infrastructure Rob Dickson said he hoped funding would be secured “in due course” to allow the full project to go ahead.
Mr Edgar, who is also chairman of the Flood Advisory Group, said he was delighted with scheme, in particular the protection proposed for the Riverside area.
“This is the largest business area in the Borders,” said Mr Edgar.
“Providing this level of flood protection will effectively remove the risk of flooding.
“It will hopefully remove the current burden in achieving flood insurance, allow for further regeneration of the area, and, most importantly, encourage the creation of jobs.”