MP hits out as Dunfermline's own 'trams' fiasco cost rockets
DUNFERMLINE'S MP is demanding answers on the city's own version of Edinburgh's infamous trams fiasco - the flood prevention scheme.
Thomas Docherty hit out over the controversial plan which has spiralled in cost by more than 400 per cent and is running six years behind schedule.
The bill for the Dunfermline Flood Prevention Scheme rocketed from £3.7 million in October 2003 to £18.9 million by the end of 2009 - and the final bill is expected to be even higher.
It was scheduled to be completed in 2007, it's estimated it will now be summer 2013, and one resident said it had been "four years of undiluted hell".
She added, "People wonder why Fife Council can't afford to fix roads or find money for other services, it's because they've wasted so much taxpayers' money on the flood prevention scheme."
Labour MP Mr Docherty said, "This is Dunfermline's trams project and the previous Fife Council has left an absolute wreck for the new administration to deal with.
"I've got lots of constituents writing to me about the scheme, the rising cost and the delays, it's peoples lives that are being disrupted.
"As we've seen in Edinburgh and again here, the systemic problem of local authorities is they don't have the people that can manage major infrastructure projects.
"We need answers to make sure this is never repeated."
The flood prevention scheme is designed to protect 175 'at-risk' homes and businesses along the Lyne, Tower and Calais burns in south-west Dunfermline, with defences to stretch from Brucefield to Liggars Bridge.
The contractor is Byzak Ltd and the scheme is designed to contain a "one in 200-year" flood.
The two-year project was due to begin in April 2005 but the start was delayed until May 2007, with completion dates continually being pushed back.
Delays and spiralling costs led to increasing anger and frustration from residents desperate for answers.
As well as noise and inconvenience, homes bordering the burns in south-west Dunfermline have had their gardens dug up, trees and bushes cut down to allow the works to take place but many residents have been left with little or no garden to enjoy for years.
Dunfermline Tennis Club also had to spend £17,000 replacing the surface on three of their courts due to damage blamed on the scheme.
Dunfermline Central Lib Dem councillor Joe Rosiejak said, "It's been a nightmare and my heart goes out to the residents affected by this.
"I've had constant complaints about this for years and I get frustrated too as I keep asking officials and keep getting fobbed off.
"The time has come for councillors to be given a detailed report on what's gone wrong, why it has taken so long and, most importantly, when it's going to be finished.
"You can't even get into Rex Park and for the poor residents affected by all these problems, when are they going to be properly compensated for the horrendous time they've had to endure?
"It's time the truth was told. We need answers."
A local resident, who asked not to be named, said, "It's been the most incredible waste of public money ever.
"The worst thing about this is we've been told we've gained betterment, that our gardens are better than they were.
"How can losing 20 feet of garden and trees that were 40-50-years-old be betterment?"
She continued, "Whoever came up with this open-ended contract, which has Byzak rubbing their hands, should be sacked immediately."
Fife Council told the Press the budget allocated to the scheme is £18.9 million but "it is clear that significant additional funding will be required".
Still outstanding is the completion of works at Rex Park, a bypass culvert at Liggars Bridge and a reinforced culvert and channel works at Forth Street - the last two jobs will "involve disruption to traffic including road closures".
The estimated completion date is now summer 2013 and the "project prolongation has mainly been due to unforeseen site circumstances and contractual disputes".
However, Mairi Dawson, from Morgan Law Partnership, said problems with the scheme had not put off housebuyers.
She said, "I don't think it would make any difference to property values as that area is always popular anyway.
"It may be the case that people have chosen not to move as they believe they won't get the price they want, and houses in that area don't come up very often in any case, but the one we sold recently in Ladysmill Court, we had no problems at all."
"We had 10 viewers and none of them mentioned the scheme as a problem.
"People who have lost their garden or part of their land will lose value on their property but I don't think it's affected anyone we've been involved with."
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Jul 8, 10:58
Has anyone else noticed that the Press appears to be turning into the Tam Docherty/Christine Eadie/Alex Rowley/Fife Labour group's personal PR facility?
Have a flick through this week's paper to see what I mean..........................
Mind you, it makes a change from last year's "Wullie Rennie Weekly"
Recommend? Yes 15 No 1
Jul 8, 11:59
It's been a nightmare and my heart goes out to the residents affected by this.Oh! wrong article I thought it was the article about Tesco which Joe Rosiejak supported so vigourously maybe he is going to get complains about it for years. On a cheaper note why didn't they just knock the houses down and build new ones on higher ground I never saw Bruce Street car park flooded.
Recommend? Yes 0 No 2
Jul 8, 19:58
Docherty has found another bandwagon to jump on!!! Did anyone notice his claims of blaming the last Lib Dem/SNP administration when the problem is with the contract which was written when Labour were in charge of the council!! 100% Hypocritical!!!!
Recommend? Yes 8 No 3
Jul 10, 09:11
Jul 11, 01:35
Jul 12, 19:09
Jul 12, 23:10
Jul 17, 22:13
What makes all of this so much worse is that the flood defence scheme would never have been needed if it wasn't for all the development of the Eastern Expansion. Residents were told that its all about global warming and old mine working filling up.
House Building is nearer the truth!!!
Recommend? Yes 1 No 0