Flood works compensation row as Council reveal lower savings

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Moray Councillors will be told why savings on Elgin Flood Scheme were lower than expected – at a time when one businessman is furious over land he ‘loaned’ to the authority.

A MORAY BUSINESSMAN has been exchanging a bitter war of words with Council officials over what he claims are broken promises in the wake of the Elgin Flood Alleviation Scheme.

This morning Councillors will learn the reasons why the savings being made from the £86million scheme will not be as high as they first envisaged.

A meeting of the policy and resources committee will be told that the final savings from the scheme will be around £1.2million, less than had previously been estimated.

They will be told that much greater savings estimated in May had been based on December 2015 forecasts – but these were made at a time when there was a backlog of compensation events, reducing the accuracy of the predicted final cost.

In December, councillors were told that the total bill for the scheme would come in £3million lower at £83.2million.

One who will not be compensated, however, is Iain Emslie, owner of A2B Cabs in Elgin, who gave up half the Chanonry Spur yard from which he runs his business in 2012 to aid the work on the flood defences – on the understanding, he had thought, that the yard would be resurfaced on completion of the scheme.

Now council officials are denying any such agreement was reached – leaving the businessman to pay out £12,000 for repairs and new fencing.

Both the flood scheme contractors and Moray Council insist that the verbal agreement reached was only that the yard would be returned to the condition it was in four years ago.

Mr Emslie said: “I am just looking for what I was promised – I have tried to bring this up with the council and the contractor but they have washed their hands of it now. The yard is not in any worse condition that it was four years ago – but if I had access to it then I would have had the whole jing bang done by now.”

The businessman has been further frustrated as neighbouring businesses who gave up space for the works have had their yards resurfaced.

Moray Council has denied any agreement to resurface was reached, a spokesman telling a national newspaper: “The arrangement as far as we are concerned was that the yard would be reinstated to a condition no worse than it was when construction work on the flood scheme started – but that did not include resurfacing the whole yard.”