A Brechin businessman is embroiled in a dispute with Angus Council over his efforts to plug the 30m hole in the town’s flood defence wall.
Fred Murray, of haulage contractors FB Murray, decided he wasn’t prepared to sit back and do nothing after part of the flood defence wall collapsed due to the River South Esk overflowing in the early hours of Friday morning.
He filled 140 sandbags and used them to put a temporary measure in place in an attempt to prevent any more water pouring on to the road.
However, Fred and some of his workers were later asked by the council to remove the sandbags – still in place for First Minister Humza Yousaf’s visit on Monday – amid concern they could further damage the already weakened road.
He told us: “The rising water of the river caused the old section of the flood defence wall to collapse in the early hours of Friday.
“This is what led to to the flooding of some many homes.
“I thought I would try to do what I could to help.
“Many of my workers live on River Street and their homes were among those affected.
“My immediate concern was that the water would continue to rise and cause yet more destruction.
“It seemed the best thing to do was to try to plug the hole.”
Fred told how him and his workers managed to quickly fill the sandbags and take them down to River Street.
However, later that day, council employees told him he would have to remove them.
Fred added: “That just didn’t make sense to me – that would leave a gaping hole in the wall.
“I indicated to the council I would remove the sandbags if they could put some other kind of preventative measure in place.
“That hasn’t been done and as of Monday my sandbags are still there.
“If the water was to rise again, they are the only thing stopping yet further damage.
“I genuinely want to help and have suggested various things that could be done to improve the situation but it seems that Angus Council doesn’t want to know.”
Angus Council fears River Street could still collapse
Angus Council risk and resilience chief Jacqui Semple insists the council understands and appreciates Mr Murray’s efforts.
But she said: “We appreciate this was a well-intentioned gesture however, our concern is the integrity of the road on River Street which may yet give way.
“We fear it may yet completely collapse and the sandbags are adding extra weight that may lead to further damage of the road.
“We have structural engineers assessing the situation who will report back to us and we can then make a decision on the best way forward.
“It may be that we have to ask Mr Murray to remove the sandbags.”