Sick Kids flood defences ‘may put homes at risk’

Little France residents are worried their homes may be at risk from floods. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Little France residents are worried their homes may be at risk from floods. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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RESIDENTS living close to the site of the new Sick Kids hospital fear that planned flood defences for nearby waterways may put their homes at risk.

NHS Lothian wants to build a new Royal Hospital for Sick Children and department of clinical neurosciences at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary site, with flood defence works a condition of the development.

It insisted that the works were necessary and that homes would not be disadvantaged by them.

However, many people from nearby Little France Mills and Nether Craigour fear the measures – which include flood walls – could cause problems as natural run-offs are altered.

Ian Taylor, 49, of Little France Mills, said: “The question has to be asked, where does all that water go? It has to have a huge knock-on effect to properties upstream and downstream unless the whole river is getting the same treatment.”

Peter McClements, 63, also of Little France Mills, added: “There is possibility this place could be wiped out.”

Ian Murray MP said: “I have been approached by lots of residents from the two estates who are very unhappy.

“I was very disappointed that the concerns raised during the consultation were not properly accounted for in the planning application submission, hence further objections were submitted by concerned residents.”

Susan Goldsmith, finance director of NHS Lothian, insisted it had taken the concerns of residents on board and had carried out detailed reviews of the plans which showed there would be no risk to properties.

She said: “We understand the concerns that some residents may have about the onsite flood works and we have taken on board these concerns as best we can.

“Working alongside the council and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, we have recently carried out extensive reviews of the area and are confident that properties in the area, including Little France Mills, are not disadvantaged in terms of flood risk by the enhancement of the new defences protecting the hospital site.

“We have consulted extensively with residents throughout the planning process to deliver the new hospital and associated works and we will continue to do so.

“These works are necessary to enable the new Royal Hospital for Sick Children and department of clinical neurosciences to be built later this year.

“We will do everything possible to ensure that the construction process does not impact on local residents and I would like to reassure them that flood works will not take place on-site until after we have obtained full planning approval.”