Councillors asked to agree new £4.5m flood protection package

Councillor Slater - net hope for flood-hit communities.
Councillor Slater – new hope for flood-hit communities.

PLANS TO DEAL with flooding in several Moray communities are to be discussed this week with a £4.5million package set to be agreed by councillors.

Portessie, Dallas and Hopeman communities were hit by several flooding issues two years ago, sparking a detailed study into flood protection measures required to protect homes and businesses.

In March this year Moray Council agreed that feasibility studies should be conducted following local consultation – now a report prepared by JBA Consulting is to be considered by members of the economic development and infrastructure committee on Tuesday.

Newly elected councillor Dennis Slater made flooding in his Heldon & Laich ward at Hopeman a priority during the recent by-election campaign that saw him take up a seat as the only non-aligned independent on the local authority.

During the campaign last month Mr Slater said that Hopeman had suffered “for years” and insisted that it was an issue that could not be forgotten about.

He said: “It is these local issues that are often swallowed up in the bureaucratic process and forgotten about, but people in the local community have certainly not forgotten and have been urging me to ensure that the issue is brought back to the top of the agenda.”

Now the local authority looks set to agree that a cut-off channel to the south of Hopeman be created that would carry water to a burn running between the village and the local golf club, at a cost of around £830,000.

Mr Slater said: “There were 29 houses flooded in one storm last year – it is an issue that is not going to go away as it brings concern to local resident every time we have heavy rainfall. Hopefully there is now an end in sight to the misery this flooding has caused over the years.”

Portessie suffered in 2013 when a large number of homes were hit by what was described as a “mini tsunami” – it has been estimated that the cost to Moray Council of protecting the community will be as high as £3.65million.

Work to protect Dallas from a recurrence of the floods that swamped the village last year is expected to cost £280,000, according to the report.