Newton Flood Group discuss way forward

Work to repair the wall will start next month
Work to repair the wall will start next month

Now that the Cree Valley Community Council has been re-established the Flood Action Group met on Monday to review progress and decide what action is necessary.

Flood Group member Richard Kay said: “A report on progress prepared by Dumfries & Galloway Council had been supplied by our local Councillor, Alistair Geddes. It was good to see the actions being taken but more consultation with the local communities would have been welcomed. There is a wealth of knowledge in the local residents who have grown up with the river which is being largely ignored.

“The main points of concern were the Stroan Bridge in Glentrool, the Sparling Bridge and the Riverside Wall in Newton Stewart. The build-up of gravel around the Cree Bridge and weir was also addressed.

“Design work for the Stroan Bridge has been completed and costings should be available in August. Work should start in late September or October, after the main tourist season. It was good to see that the aesthetic value of the bridge would be maintained.

“The Sparling Bridge can’t be repaired on its present site because the abutment on the Minnigaff side was seriously undermined by the flood. The landowner on the east bank of the Cree supplied draft designs prepared by the Council for raising the bridge and building larger ramps on a site just upstream of the existing structure. Local knowledge suggests that the construction of the sewage pumping station, with its 1.5 metre banks already restricts the spread of flood water onto the flood plain below the village. It was felt that the designs would further restrict the passage of water in this area. The raised bridge and ramps would also obscure the views to the hills. It was felt that a more satisfactory design would be to move the bridge downstream to the mouth of the riverside footpath near Aldi’s. This location would allow water to spread more easily onto the flood plain.

“Work on the Riverside Wall is scheduled to start next month. While this is welcomed no indication of the design or finishes to be used has been given. It is hoped that attractive and appropriate materials will be used.

“The masses of gravel deposited by the flood around the Cree Bridge have made the weir ineffective. The group will press for the water flows in this area to be reinstated by dredging to protect the bridge and river banks.

“The problems of local businesses in getting affordable flood insurance were raised. It was feared that shops will not re-open if satisfactory insurance can’t be arranged. It was agreed to liaise with groups in other areas to ensure the extension of the Flood Re insurance scheme to small businesses.”