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Rural residents left in limbo as Aberdeenshire Council looks for cash to replace bridges destroyed in flood

Gorracchie bridge, near King Edward, was swept away on Saturday - picture by William Stuart
Gorracchie bridge, near King Edward, was swept away on Saturday - picture by William Stuart

Villagers who feared being cut off following the loss of several bridges in flash-flooding have been left in limbo as the council searches for cash to fund repairs.

Aberdeenshire Council officers had suggested that six of the seven bridges washed away around King Edward in September were beyond repair, and asked councillors to consider simply not replacing them as the authority does not have enough money to pay for such work.

But members of the Banff and Buchan area committee yesterday voted against the idea, saying that “conversations with the Scottish Government are still ongoing” and that “other funding avenues” are still to be explored.

Residents at King Edward previously raised concerns over emergency service access to the area and said they felt like they had been “forgotten about”, with their daily lives badly affected by the loss of the crossings three months ago.

A report prepared by engineering bosses advised councillors that replacing the six bridges “damaged beyond repair” would cost £1.26 million.

The report stated: “When funding is limited, the council has to consider the actions which can be taken and consider the financial implications of all the options available, including, in this case, not replacing bridges.”

At the meeting, Fraserburgh and District councillor Doreen Mair said that Aberdeenshire Council should be “looking at other available funding”.

Her fellow ward member, Charles Buchan, said it would be “premature” to decide against replacing the bridges at this stage.

Residents fear for emergency services access as council can’t afford to replace six bridges destroyed in flooding

Resident Samantha Philip previously raised concerns about the damaged bridges, and last night remained dubious about the prospect of them being replaced in the near future.

She said: “This can’t be going on for another year or so, waiting to see where they can find the money from.

“I pay a lot in council tax, I don’t have street lights, there’s no art galleries or museums out here so I don’t know where my money is actually going.

“This has been going on for a while and there doesn’t seem to be any work going on, even just one temporary bridge would help us all out a lot but we haven’t even had that.”

One of the seven bridges destroyed in September, theSouth Mains bridge on the B9105 Fraserburgh to Turriff road, was rebuilt as a matter of urgency as the B road is regarded a “strategic link to the east of Aberdeenshire”.

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