A resident of Cults says flood defences put in place along the River Dee are compounding the issue of flooding and actually making the situation worse.
Katie Hulme, whose house sits next to the Cults reservoir on Loirsbank Road, says that uneven distribution of flood defences along the River Dee are putting her home at risk of damage.
Mrs Hulme told The Reporter: “The thing that has changed since the flooding five years ago is lots of people have put in flood defences which in my opinion have made the problem worse.
“For example The Paul Lawrie Golf Centre opposite me has a flood defence system in place now. Normally all the water we just had would go onto his golf course, but now it comes my way.”
Mrs Hulme, who has lived in the Deeside area on and off most of her life and who has two boys currently enrolled at Cults Primary, had a nervous weekend waiting to see what would happen as the waters of the River Dee crept to within metres of her garden.
Mrs Hulme said: “Usually I don’t panic, but yesterday I turned the electricity off in the house just in case.
“My biggest concern at the moment is we are due more rain.”
January 2015 was the last time the Dee broke its banks in such dramatic fashion.
Mrs Hulme acknowledged the flooding then was worse than what happened this past weekend, but she is alarmed with how quickly the reservoir and floodplains in front of her house filled compared to five years ago.
Representative of Paul Lawrie Golf Centre provides response to Mrs Hulme’s claims
Michael MacDougall, former head of the PGA in Scotland and now oversees the Paul Lawrie Golf Foundation replied to Ms Hulme’s concerns about flood defenses saying: “The flood defences at Paul Lawrie Golf Centre are about making the fabric of the building more resistant to floods since PLGC sits on a natural flood plain. SEPA were consulted and the defences were made to the building itself, not the land around it. Changes have not been made to the flood plain.”
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Mrs Hulme said: “When Paul Lawrie was putting in his defences I was thinking this isn’t solving the problem because it’s just pushing the water elsewhere and the fact our floodplain flooded so quickly on Saturday into Sunday morning tells me that what he’s done has worked for him, but it’s just pushing the water elsewhere.
“It’s great for people who have the defenses, but not for people who don’t.”
Insurance issues over ‘natural causes’
Paul Lawrie Golf Centre isn’t the only property along the River Dee to protect itself from flooding.
Deeside Holiday Park is another company to have installed defences.
The holiday park in Maryculter is reported to have purchased installations worth hundreds of thousands of pounds including pumping stations after the 2015 floods left the park unable to reopen for two years as it recovered from the damage.
Defences raise issues over insurance claims for residents of damaged properties, with many insurance companies refusing to pay out if floodplains are tampered with.
Mrs Hulme bought her house in April 2015, six months before the floods that struck Deeside – considered to be the worst the area experienced in over two hundred years.
She says her and her neighbours were surprised the two events have occurred in such a short space of time.
Added to that was the recent downpour that occurred just over a month ago, which left damage to houses across Mrs Hulme’s street as embankments collapsed due to the amount of water that fell.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has warned that whilst the majority of the rain has past people should now be prepared for the potential of surface water flooding.
SEPA released an update yesterday saying: “We urge people to stay prepared and plan ahead with the continued potential for river and surface water flooding.
“Some river levels are still to peak and surface water and river flooding could continue to cause significant travel disruption to the area.”