A “breakthrough” has been made in protecting Stonehaven from the risk of future flooding, it has been claimed.
Stonehaven and District Community Council has had its first success in convincing a developer to carry out an independent flood survey of its proposals.
The Sluie Estate Trust, which is behind plans for a supermarket and petrol station at the New Mains of Ury, has agreed to fund the analysis of its site.
The community council has long been calling for independent flood evaluations on major planning applications around the town to give a greater degree of confidence to locals.
Stonehaven was hit by severe floods in 2009 and 2012 after the River Carron burst its banks.
Yesterday, planning spokesman Phil Mills-Bishop, said if others followed suit, the community council could “hold developers to account” on flooding matters.
Mr Mills-Bishop said there is no “independent evaluation and checks” for flooding currently factored into the planning process and that the agreement with Sluie Estates Trust was a breakthrough in the way flooding concerns were tackled.
He added: “One agency after another either passes the responsibility or merely relies on the developers own commissioned consultancy assessments.”
Mr Mills-Bishop said mistakes could be made by developers and that it was “the residents in the town, that pay the cost of the mistakes in terms of flooded property.”
A flood risk assessment has already been carried out by Millard Consulting on behalf of the Sluie Estate Trust at the site.
Spokesman for the firm, David Strang-Steel, said: “What we have said (to the community council) is we’ll pay a capped amount for the you to do a hydrology survey and you choose whoever you want to do it.
“We are confident there will be no flooding issues at all. It is just to really give them the comfort factor that it is not going to make any flooding issues for Stonehaven going forwards.”
An Aberdeenshire Council spokeswoman said: “The onus on providing accurate and correct information to accompany any planning application sits firmly with the applicant.
“One of the roles of the council’s flooding and coast protection unit, a team of skilled and valued engineers led by a chartered civil engineer, is to ensure any technical information required as part of a planning application is in full accordance with current policy and practice.”