Relief for communities as £4.5m flood package is agreed

Dallas - site visit planned by councillors (
Dallas – site visit planned by councillors (pic: Douglas Keith)

COMMUNITIES STILL LIVING in fear every time the rain falls should soon have the protection they need for their homes and businesses.

While so much of the proceedings in the Moray Council chamber on Tuesday were controversial, there was a clear agreement that work in Hopeman, Dallas and Portessie was required to ease flood risk.

Councillors discussing a £4.5million package for the three communities were mixed on how it might be done – but ultimately agreed it was essential spending that will bring a great deal of relief to residents.

Making his speaking debut was Heldon & Laich councillor Dennis Slater, who has been at the sharp end of community efforts to protect Hopeman from the regular flood events suffered by the coastal village over the years and made flood alleviation for small communities one of his main by-election platforms.

Councillor Slater said: “I speak today not only for Hopeman but for all of these communities who live in fear of flood risk and dread the arrival of dark clouds over Moray.

“But I speak in particular for my own community in Hopeman. Last year heavy rain caused a huge flood in the village – that led to a road giving way and sending torrents of water and pig muck through our village.”

Councillors agreed an £830,000 scheme for Hopeman that will see a cut-off channel created to the south of the village.

The most expensive measures agreed was a £3.65million investment to protect the shoreline at Portessie, which will provide a new 4.5foot high wall. Local councillor Gordon McDonald welcomed the measure which he said have been long awaited in the village and would remove a great deal of anxiety.  He said: “Residents will be quite happy to have their scenery blocked if it meant living in a dry house.”

For Dallas, councillors have agreed in principle to spend £280,000 on works to protect the village – however, there was discussion over how that is best achieved so a site visit will be undertaken before a final decision is made.

The plans will now go a meeting of the Full Council next month for final approval.