Councillors seek extension to Lossiemouth seawall deadline

Fears are being expressed that delays to the repair of the seawall in Lossiemouth could cost Moray Council up to £250,000.

A temporary repair to the wall that was seriously damaged by exceptional storms in December 2012 was removed earlier this month as contractors prepared a permanent repair.

However, since then unusually high tides has battered the coastline – and the unprotected gap has led to localised flooding to the town’s Station Park.

Now a local councillor is asking the Scottish Government to allow an extension on their March 31 deadline for grant funding that is supposed to meet almost half of the £450,000 repair bill. Under the conditions of the financial deal negotiated last year repairs would need to be completed before the end of the current financial year of the funding would be lost.

In a joint letter from council leader Allan Wright and Councillor John Cowe, both of whom represent the Heldon and Laich ward, Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse has been asked to extend the deadline.

In their letter the councillors said: “We tendered and the winning company has been endeavouring to proceed with the work knowing the tight timescale.

“Unfortunately we have in recent weeks had both strong winds and unusually high tides that have combined to allow the sea to flood the park and toilets on more than one occasion.”

While the appeal has been made to the minister, Councillor Cowe says that there are still hopes that contractors can complete the job on time. He said: “An extension to the deadline would give us a bit more breathing space just in case the weather continues to conspire against the work being done.”

Lossiemouth has been hit hard by flood tides in recent weeks, with those arriving over the weekend bringing flooding to areas on both the East and West beaches in the town. Work on clearing up the weekend damage on the West beach pathway is expected to begin this week.

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