For many years the River Urie has meandered at will over the farm land at Souterford.
Flooding of the area is an annual event and even Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is completely powerless to prevent it.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) last week issued an updated flood alert for Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City and asked local residents to remain vigilant and to take action to “protect yourself and your property”.
The flood warning advised that river levels in the area were rising as a result of “persistent rainfall during Wednesday morning” leading to “flooding of low lying areas particularly in the Rivers Don and Deveron. Flooding is expected from late on Wednesday morning and may last until Thursday morning.”
There was, however, no flood warning issued for the Aberdeenshire town of Inverurie despite a worrying increase in the level of the River Urie.
Following some very heavy rainfall during the past week the Aberdeenshire town’s Souterford area, just off the B9170 Oldmeldrum to Inverurie highway, was in fact flooded and this caused concern to many residents of the Inverurie Osprey Village development who were keeping a watchful eye on the flood situation as the River Urie bursts its banks yet again and water levels in the area continued to rise.
This is of course not a new problem. In fact the River Urie has been responsible for flooding the area around Inverurie for hundreds if not thousands of years, leading some local residents to conclude that was the reason why the historic town was built a few hundred metres to the South West of the rivers natural course in the first place.
In the view of many locals, the decision by the Gordon House planners to permit residential and retail development on such a vulnerable site was surprising say the least.
Souterford is seemingly a flood plain and where a flood plain exists, rivers will tend to meander and on occasion create temporary lochs before draining seawards in the spring season.
A local Inverurie resident living with his partner in the towns Birch Drive observed that the water levels were “very alarming” and “almost within reach of the foundations” of his newly purchased 3 bedroom house.
“If I had been told about the flooding problems, I would never have bought this house” he said.
“We moved here from London and never expected anything like this, the home report made no mention of flood risk.
“Both the developers and the council are liable in my opinion.”
The adjoining retail park has also suffered from flooding of the car park since opening in 2009. Business owners declined to comment but staff report a decline in sales due perhaps to the deep water which customers require to negotiate after parking their cars at the East side of the car park.
Barratt Homes declined to comment regarding the flooding issue and their website currently advertises the “Final Phase” of Osprey Village with the comment that “this site is not available”.
Some recent buyers of houses on the flood plain may have reason to wish that the companies claim regarding the unavailability of the site had been visible prior to purchase.
The new Barratt Homes 2014 housing development at Souterford is somewhat aptly named Osprey Heights and is situated some 20 metres above Osprey Village. In the hopefully unlikely event of water levels threatening Osprey Heights, all of Aberdeenshire may have a problem.
If you or any member of your family are unsure about what to do to prevent flooding in your area, advice and information is readily available by calling Floodline on 0845 9881188.
Below is a helpful SEPA sponsored video entitled “An introduction to SEPA, Ever wondered what we do here at SEPA?”
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