Three years of flooding hell

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SATURDAY afternoon’s torrential rain in Montrose brought more misery to those working and living in the Rossie Braes area.

As motorists saw to their amazement, mud and water were pouring like a waterfall off an adjacent potato field. The mud was settling in and around the Rossie Braes Garden Centre, and in considerable quantity in the lay-by on the Basin side of the road.

It was clear at a glance that many potatoes were being washed down by the water.

The Review visited the Garden Centre on Monday, and even though a clean-up operation had been going on since Sunday morning there was still much to be done.

Proprietor Allana Urquhart said: “We took over six years ago and have been steadily building up the business with the support of local customers. But this is has set us back and is so frustrating.”

She showed where the floodwater had been six inches deep outside the perimeter fence, and where enough potatoes had been left lying to do a family for a week.

There were also piles of flood-borne potato shaws.

The shop building had been badly hit, again with six inches of flooding, and three barrow-loads of mud had been wheeled out of it on Sunday. A snow-shovel had been utilised for the worst of the mud.

Allana said: “Bitter experience has shown what it is safe to leave on the floor, and what has to be put up higher on shelves in case there is a surprise flood. The first thing we did when the flooding started was switch off the electricity.”

Outside again, usually pristine containers had been knocked over and muddied.

And the plants and flowers that normally provide a cheery welcome at the entrance to the garden centre were conspicuous by their absence.

While the Review was looking at the field where most of the inundation had come from we were joined by two householders from across the road, with similar tales to tell of the flooding.

A dyke had been washed away and fish pond had been in the way of the torrent, fish presumed now dead.

The gentlemen, Ian Crabb and Roger Key, had contacted Angus Council and were waiting for a representative of the roads department to come and inspect the damage.

Mr Crabb said a drain up the road a bit had been installed with a four-inch pipe, which was hopelessly inadequate.

He was also of the opinion that when the road had been resurfaced its contours had been altered, and this was making it less able to cope with flash floods.

Allana said that the garden centre and the neighbours are a good community, all helping each other, and on occasions she has loaned bags of compost to be used as sandbags to try to stop water ingressing.

The principal problem appears to be with a drain, or drains, further up the hill, which have not coped for many months, and are now almost certainly blocked with mud.

We asked Angus Council for an update, and a spokeswoman said: “Roads staff attended at this location on Saturday afternoon following a deluge of torrential rain. At that time, we erected warning signs and checked and cleared gullies. On Monday, staff inspected the area and a sweeper was sent to clear the site. Further drainage investigation is ongoing.”