Claim flood works crossing may have sunk cricket pitch

FLOODING which has left a city cricket ground under five feet of water has been blamed on a temporary bridge put up by flood defence contractors.

Cricket Scotland announced yesterday that England’s planned one-day international against Scotland in Edinburgh next month had been cancelled because of the deluge, as its could not guarantee the venue would be ready in time.

A third of the playing area at the Grange Cricket Club is under water and 40 metres of the main wall around the ground have been destroyed.

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Gordon Tolland, secretary of the Grange club, told the Evening News: “At the corner of Arboretum Road there’s a temporary concrete bridge that the construction people are using.

“During the heavy rains branches and timber came down the river and got caught in the tunnel – this acted as a kind of dam.

“The water backed up from there and had nowhere to go.

“I would like to stress Lagan Construction have been very helpful and cleared the blockage as soon as possible.

“But it can’t be a coincidence that the bridge is there and this is the first time in history the ground has flooded.

“There is the potential of financial loss because of the cancellation but that is in the hands of our insurers now.”

Cricket Scotland chief executive Roddy Smith said: “When the Water of Leith burst its banks the water flooded into the Grange, but even before that it was fairly clear that the flood prevention works had affected the water table.

“Staff had noticed the water table was a lot higher than it used to be, which is a huge issue.”

Gavin Barrie, SNP councillor for Inverleith, added: “I would have hoped that since there is better weather forecast that the match cancellation could have been avoided.

“As to whether the construction had anything to do with the level of flooding, that could be part of a general investigation and I would be reluctant to comment further without more information.”

A spokesman for the city council said: “There is 
currently no evidence to suggest that the Stockbridge flood prevention works have adversely affected the water table at the Grange cricket ground.

“The fact is that this has been the wettest April to June since records began and ground across Edinburgh is at saturation point.

“Council engineers and safety officials visited the site last week and recommended to Cricket Scotland that this event could go ahead.

“Following the heavy rain on Tuesday, event organisers informed us of the decision to cancel the event.”

Iain Whyte, Conservative councillor for Inverleith, said: “The cancellation is very unfortunate and I hope that the Grange is back in playable condition as soon as possible.

“I’ll be looking to ask questions of those doing the work and checking that it is all going as planned.”

No-one at Lagan Construction was available for comment.

Those who have already purchased tickets for the match will be given a full refund and free offers for matches next season.