Sixteen months after the River Cree’s worst flooding in 60 years, Dumfries and Galloway Council has agreed to spend £10,000 on developing a flood warning system.
At a meeting of the authority’s economy, environment and infrastructure committee on Wednesday, it was agreed the cash was required to give properties along the banks of the Cree in Newton Stewart and Minnigaff a three-hour warning of any likely rise in river levels .
This will be carried out by SEPA through monitoring of weather and water activity upstream.
A flood pod will also be situated in the town, and the council is to seek support from the Scottish government for funding retaining walls and lifting the Sparling Bridge, and has committed £25,000 to having a plan for this drawn up.
The overall cost of implementing any designs put forward is expected to run to more than £3 million.
The “direct defences” work to protect the Cree will be carried out in line with suggestions from a survey which identified 353 properties in the vicinity of the river at threat from flooding.
Richard Kay, chairman of the local Flood Action Group, said: “We’re delighted the council is proceeding with this and we’d now just like to see it go ahead as soon as possible.
“The survey, which we had to wait quite some time for, was very good and the measures proposed are vital to protect the commercial centre of the town as well as residential areas.”
But some businesses felt the announcement came too late. Carol Smithers, of Granny’s Kitchen in Newton Stewart, which backs onto the Cree, said of a flood warning system: “It would only give us time to get our white goods upstairs, but we’d still be flooded. We still have rocks and debris piling up at the back in the river and the water rises quickly around it.”
A £12 million scheme is also being drawn up for the Whitesands in Dumfries.