Residents '˜trapped in their village' due to landslip

Residents of the small coastal town Gardenstown have claimed they have been cut off to the rest of the world following a landslip which left them unable to leave their town.

Gardenstown, Aberdeenshire. Picture; ian Smith, free to use
Gardenstown, Aberdeenshire. Picture; ian Smith, free to use

Locals in the lower part of the village only able to get out during a six-hour supervised period one day a week with residents being partially blocked off since December.

Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid and north-east MSP Peter Chapman have visited the site in response to concerns from residents about the length of time they face being “cut off”.

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Investigatory works commissioned by Aberdeenshire Council began today and are expected to take 19 days to complete.

However, despite the concerns of residents, local authority officials have admitted that they cannot provide a timescale for a permanent solution until engineers have a clearer picture of the ground conditions

Mr Duguid, a Scottish Conservative MP, said: “I have been contacted by a considerable number of constituents who simply want a safe and secure solution to this problem as quickly as possible.

“Locals understand the health and safety issues, but there is frustration at the length of time that this may take to resolve. There are also obvious concerns about the community being cut off and the potential impact on the local tourism sector.

“I am pleased to see council contractors on site today, and we will know more once these investigatory works are completed.

“It is clearly a more complex geological situation than would normally be the case. I understand the council has limited resources at its disposal, but I have made clear that I want to see progress made sooner rather than later.”

Mr Chapman, a north-east region MSP and Shadow Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, said: “There was a lot of anger among the residents today, which is understandable.

“Fishermen are having to climb 200 steps to get their catch out from the harbour and off to market, while those with holiday homes are fearful of what will happen if the road is still shut by summer.

“I was glad, however, that the council officers were on hand to talk to those affected and listen to their concerns. Good communication in these situations is absolutely essential.

“I have made the case as forcefully as I can to the council that we must have a solution that allows the road to open again by summer. That is by no means an easy task, and I am sure it will take many months to deliver a permanent solution.”

A study by academics at Glasgow University published this week predicted that more than 3,000 homes and 100 miles of road could be lost to the sea within a few decades due to coastal erosion around Scotland shores.

The report estimated that almost £4bn worth of road and rail infrastructure could be damaged.