ABERDEENSHIRE councillors are next week expected to press ahead with plans for a £12 million scheme to prevent a repeat of the floods which have devastated the coastal town of Stonehaven twice since November 2009.
The proposals include the use of innovative “floating walls” which can be raised from hidden chambers when the River Carron is threatening to burst its banks and will protect homes and businesses in the lower part of the town against the threat of a one in 200 year flood event.
A report on the public consultation on the ambitious scheme, to go before a meeting of the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee next Tuesday, reveals that there has been a positive feedback to the proposals from local residents.
Stephen Archer, the council’s Director of Infrastructure Services, states in his report to the committee: “Following the public consultation, 146 feedback forms were received. Overall the proposals were positively accepted - 143 of the responses agreed that there was a requirement for a flood scheme to be developed. One responder indicated that a flood scheme was not required, however no further explanation was given as to why this was the case and the responder also agreed that all the proposals for the scheme were mostly acceptable.”
He continues:” Preliminary feedback from the Stonehaven Flood Action Group has indicated support in principle for the proposals. They raise concerns regarding a commitment to detailed maintenance regime for the river and also any defences constructed. The Flood Action Group also wish to ensure that the modelling of the alternative suggestions for the rock armour (at the mouth of the River Carron) be taken forward as a matter of urgency.
“The Stonehaven Heritage Society is supportive of the scheme but stress that the material choices and finishes are very important to ensure that there is no adverse affects. More details of the finishes will be available as the scheme progress and will be made in conjunction with officers from the planning and conservation teams.”
Mr Archer adds: “Taking cognisance of the comments received, it is recommended that the preferred scheme, as shown at the consultation, be taken forward as the most economically viable scheme in terms of cost, benefit and effectiveness in reducing potential flood risk.”
The council’s proposals for the new flood protection scheme include plans for almost a kilometre of new flood walls along the banks of the River Carron. Some will be “floating walls” which can raised up as the river level rises One of the bridges in the town across the Carron would be moved and another raised as part of the proposals to pave the way for improved flood defences.