Floody hell

The debris blocking the Balloch Bridge after the deluge in July
The debris blocking the Balloch Bridge after the deluge in July

A Creetown resident at the end of her tether after being flooded out of her home for the second time in 18 months had her distress compounded when a report into the latest incident gave an inaccurate account of why the flood defences she had diligently installed failed.

Marie Donaldson of Isle Cottage in the village’s Mill Street says she is “thoroughly fed up” with her current situation after going to the expense of installing a flood barrier and doors in October 2014, but the barrier failed to do its job.

But, to add insult to injury, misleading information contained in an official report into the incident has left Mrs Donaldson with no alterative but to seek legal advice.

At around 6.30pm on Friday, July 19, after torrential rain fell overnight, Mrs Donaldson was awakened by a neighbour phoning to say that her home was surrounded by water after a bridge over the nearby Balloch Burn, had become blocked with debris, including old trees washed down from the source of the Balloch Burn, forcing the water into her garden. The emergency service were called out and, having been back home for less than a year, Mrs Donaldson had to move out again.

After being flooded out in January 2014, Mrs Donaldson put in place what she was led to believe was “100 per cent security” and that Isle Cottage would never be flooded again.

Sadly, that was not the case.

The report into the July 2015 flood was compiled after an on site meeting by representatives of UKFB (UK Flood Barriers). They claimed the doors they fitted had worked but that another other ‘flood angel’ barrier fitted by a company called Monarch Floe Protection had failed. The report claims the rear barrier it was shoddily installed by Monarch with ”a lack of sealant in several places and a 3mm gap between the cill and the ground; the fixings had not been fitted with silicone; gaps around the door had not been pointed and the rails were not secured properly to the wall.”

The UKFB-led report went on to say that although they agree the rear doors were badly fitted they claim that would “not have caused the amount of damage the property suffered” adding ”water entered the property due to the high of the conservatory windows.” Mrs Donaldson disputes this, saying : “If this had been the case the inslde cills would have shown damage and there is no damage whatsoever.”

Although the UKFB representative claims the door they fitted were watertight, Paul Hendy from the Scottish Flood Forum, who also surveyed the flood damaged cottage, claims one of the conservatory door seals was suspect.

Mrs Donaldson is annoyed that the report states the property has flooded “12 times in the past few years” when, she says, it has only been flooded three times in 31 years. The report goes on to say she “came downstairs in the night to see water entering her property” when the correct story is a neighbour alerted her to the situation in the early morning.

Looking at the report, an exasperated Mrs Donaldson told the Gazette; “I don’t know why they have made all this up!”

Recalled when the flood defences arrived in October last year, she added: “The first flood barrier that came wasn’t right so it was a full week before the men from Monarch returned with a new barrier and fitted it but the screws never looked right and none of this flood protection was tested, but I was told by Steve Hunter from Monarch that I would never have flooding again. They have not done their job properly.

“This is all too much, its really got to me this time. Everyone says ‘oh, you’re so strong’. but even strong people can cry sometimes.

“I have now put it in the hands of my solicitor.”

Paul Hendy from the Scottish Flood Forum said: “Our concern isn’t the flood barrier, it’s a good product, but the person who installed it has not paid due dilligence to fitting the product correctly.”

Respresentaitves of both UKFB and Monarch were unavaialable for comment at the time of going to press.

South of Scotland MSP Aileen McLoed said: “I’m sorry to hear about the problems Mrs Donaldson has been having and I can well imagine how distressing this will have been for her. I’d be happy to take these issues up on her behalf.”