An Aberdeenshire couple fear they’ll be stranded in an emergency after an access bridge near their home was knocked down.
Garry and Annie Barclay stay near Burnside Bridge, which crosses the Elsick Burn in Newtonhill, and used to use it to access their property.
It was initially closed in 2022 for repairs, but failed to reopen and was demolished in October this year over fears it would collapse during Storm Babet.
The couple are now forced to use a small service road owned by Scottish Water – but say delivery firms and even council services now struggle to find their home.
They are calling for Aberdeenshire Council to build a new road bridge.
The local authority says it is “currently looking to determine a possible source of funding for any replacement”.
Mr Barclay, who works in software development, said: “It is difficult to find, is steep and requires a U-turn on a single track road to drive up towards us.
“We’ve already been told by our heating oil company that they will not deliver to us again using this route.
“Packages are often undelivered as “address not found”. Even the council services frequently fail to find us.
“I worry what the emergency services might make of it – or if they could even find us in an emergency.
“I’m diabetic, so if I have any serious problems and the ambulance needs to find me, that’s pretty worrying.”
Fears lack of access could cripple couple financially
59-year-old Garry and 56-year-old Annie moved into their dream home three years ago.
But they say they would never have bought the property if they knew what was to come.
Initial repairs to the ‘wee bridge’ were undertaken in September 2022.
It was then that council engineers discovered that its damage was far more extensive than previously thought.
The crossing was found to have no sound foundations underneath – just sand – with a crack beginning to widen.
Mr Barclay added: “I don’t know if I could ever sell it as it is just now. If this is the situation, that’s going to continue.
“Personally, I would never buy this house if that was the access.
“If we can’t sell it that would put us heavily into negative equity and basically screws up my pension.
“This is a disaster for us financially as well.”
Councillor says residents ‘sorely need’ replacement bridge
Councillor Mel Sullivan, who represents the North Kincardine ward, said: “I’ve been out and spoke to the family and got the details on just how important it is that that bridge is a road bridge when it’s replaced.
“Several residents have contacted me about the importance of the bridge in providing a safe walking route.
“I agree that it is vital, but I will not be advocating for a pedestrian bridge (as it would be lower down on the council’s “priority” list).
“Any money spent on either a pedestrian or temporary bridge would be money that could be put towards a proper replacement, which the residents sorely need if they are to continue living in their property.”
An Aberdeenshire Council spokesman said: “Burnside Bridge which carries the U86K road serving a single property had been seriously undermined by the watercourse.
“As the structure was partially collapsed we were required to take the bridge down fully the week before Storm Babet as it was not safe to use by pedestrians or cyclists and threatened to block the flow of water.
“We are currently looking to determine a possible source of funding for any replacement.
“An alternative access track which had previously been closed off has meantime been brought into use for the property.”