Storm-hit homes need extra funding

Ballater was left devastated by the impact of Storm Frank
Ballater was left devastated by the impact of Storm Frank

Council houses in Aberdeenshire damaged by Storm Frank will cost nearly £900,000 more to repair.

Hundreds of homes were affected by last winter’s floods and the local authority had allocated around £14million for repair and maintenance to properties.

But new forecasts which will be considered by a meeting of the social work and housing committee today (Thursday) have estimated the bill will be nearer £15million.

A report to be discussed by councillors says that the bulk of the additional costs relate to the reinstatement of properties in Ballater which bore the brunt of the destruction caused by the storm in the North-east.

It states: “Repairs and maintenance costs are forecast to be £948,000 higher than budget.

“As detailed within the report, £885,000 of this increase relates to costs associated with the reinstatement of properties in Ballater damaged by the floods of December, 2015.

“The remaining increase relates to a rise in the use of subcontractors within the housing repairs service where specialist trades have been required.”

The extra funding for Storm Frank damage is less than was originally reported by the housing and property service, which had estimated around £1million.

Funding options are currently being reviewed.

It comes as concerns remain in Ballater over a repeat of the storm devastation.

Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett said recently there were genuine fears that the exisiting flood defences and additional measures that had been taken so far were inadequate to cope with another major incident like Storm Frank.

The Scottish Government has just commissioned research into the long-term impact of flooding on Ballater communities which will identify what more can be done to help people recover from flooding in the future.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “The Scottish Government has committed £420 million over the next 10 years to protect homes in many of Scotland’s most flood-prone communities.

“The North-east will receive more than a quarter of this year’s funding to take forward the schemes identified in local flood risk management plans.

“It is for local authorities to decide – in consultation with local communities – which flood protection schemes to prioritise in their area.”