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12/10/2017

PLI To Be Held Over £25m Whitesands Project In Dumfries

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A Public Local Inquiry (PLI) is to be held over a £25 million flood protection and regeneration project in Dumfries.

Scottish Ministers will determine whether the council's preferred design for the Whitesands project will go ahead.

The project is based on a 'raised walkway' concept featuring a combination of walls, glass panels and flood gates providing flood protection.

New physical defences (either walls/glass/raised walkway combinations) will begin next to the Dumfries and Galloway Standard offices and end just past the Pizzeria in Dock Park. There are also defences over the river at Welldale and Kenmure Terrace.

Key design features include:

• The walkway will now be a maximum of 1.4m high. This reduced height improves the views of Whitesands

• The use of glass panels along walkway will provide a permanent 1 in 25 year return period standard of protection

• The use of demountable walling above the glass panels will provide the additional height for 1 in 75 year return period standard of protection

• Gentler gradients allow full use of the grassed slopes as an open space

• Where there is insufficient room to accommodate the raised walkway there will be a combination of walls, glass panels and flood gates

eco insulate

• The raised walkway has a smaller footprint, allowing four bus stop interchanges to be accommodated without changes to the carriageway

• All parking on the shop side of the Whitesands will be retained

• A focal point and viewing area will be created at the Sandy Opening.

Councillors made the preliminary decision to confirm the Whitesands Project without modifications at a meeting on Tuesday, 27 June.

The local authority then advised Ministers of the decision and provided full details of the scheme and copies of all representations received. Members also made a formal request to Scottish Ministers to call in the Scheme and hold a PLI.

On consideration of the Reporter, Scottish Ministers will either confirm the scheme without modifications, confirm the scheme with modifications, or reject the scheme.

Council Leader Elaine Murray said: "This administration is absolutely committed to a Flood Protection for the Whitesands that incorporates much needed improvements in the public realm. It is totally unacceptable that Dumfries is the largest town in Scotland that still floods.

"We firmly believe that this Project to be the correct one for Dumfries to protect properties from flooding and also to encourage the regeneration of the Whitesands area and Dumfries town centre."

Depute Council Leader Rob Davidson added: "I am pleased that the Scottish Ministers have confirmed that they are calling in the scheme for consideration. In their letter to the Council, Scottish Government officials confirmed that a Public Local Inquiry would provide an opportunity for a fresh consideration of the Project through an external, independent process.

"We believe the Whitesands should have a flood protection scheme but it has to be the right scheme and a Public Local Inquiry will ensure that happens."

However, Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell is calling for the scheme to be axed.

He said: "I hope that the inquiry will recognise the strength of feeling locally, with thousands of people signing a petition to Save Our Sands and hundreds of businesses and locals putting in formal objections.

"Any solution to flooding on the Sands must be done by listening properly to the views of local people and not railroading through an unpopular and ill thought out scheme."

(LM)

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