Residents told to fix storm damage themselves

The devastation caused to the rear of properties in Port William’s South Street after two tidal storm surges last month cannot be repaired by the council.

Unless money for repairs comes from the Scottish government’s Bellwin Scheme that provides emergency financial assistance to local authorities in response to emergencies caused by the weather, householders will have to rely on insurance cover or pay the bills themselves.

The council’s position was made clear to members of Port William Community Council by Wigtown West councillor Grahame Forster at its meeting on Wednesday evening.

Chairman Jock McMaster said residents badly affected by the extreme weather were looking to the local authority for help to fund repairs, but Councillor Forster set out the facts, stating Dumfries and Galloway Council would only make repairs to defend its assets, not private properties. That was why work had begun to repair the village’s “battery wall” as it protected the council-owned road through the village.

Councillor Forster confirmed that the local authority had applied for funds from the Bellwin Scheme, but he warned the same action had been taken after last March’s snow storms caused havoc and nothing was forthcoming.

The elected member said: “This region was the worst 
affected by the storms in Scotland and we are still waiting to hear back from the Scottish government if they are prepared to help us.”

Chairman McMaster told the councillor that it wasn’t a case of the community hoping to get help – he insisted they must get help.

n Library users in Port William are being encouraged to come along on Monday night to the library between 6pm and 7pm to hear about changes to services proposed by the council’s Customer and Community Services Department. The plans include cutting the hours the library will be open to nine a week, but registration and customer services will be added.

n Port William Community Council was saddened to hear of the recent death of its former vice-chairman, Neil 
McNaught. Current chairman Jock McMaster paid tribute to Mr McNaught’s long com­munity service record in the village and extended the sympathy of the community council to his family.