OAP’s anger at paying for flood defences

Mary Duncan in her damaged garden after water poured through a wall into her property. Picture: Joey Kelly
Mary Duncan in her damaged garden after water poured through a wall into her property. Picture: Joey Kelly
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A PENSIONER whose home was flooded twice in two years has hit out at the city council after she was left to foot the bill for work to prevent another incident.

Mary Duncan, 79, suffered thousands of pounds of damage to her home on Egypt Mews, Morningside, when a nearby culvert burst its banks.

It flooded her basement with a foot of water in July 2011 and again in August last year, causing her house insurance to rocket.

She spent £750 on flood resistant air bricks, but was left fuming after residents on a neighbouring street had flood prevention work carried out by the council.

She said: “The council paid for Balcarres Street but not for mine. It’s really unfair, they won’t take responsibility for it.

“They told me they did Balcarres Street because it was a tenement building, so the cost was more shared out and helped more people.

“I paid for the air bricks to stop it from happening again. It seemed the sensible thing to do to make my house safe, especially as my insurance went up by £200 after it flooded the first time.

“It’s not come for renewal yet but I dread to think what it will be. I have had to claim insurance for two years because of something that is not my fault.”

Mrs Duncan, who has lived in the house for 38 years, said she had never had a problem with flooding until 2010.

She initially thought overflowing drains were responsible, but later found culvert water flowing through a hole in a wall bordering Astley Ainslie Hospital.

The fire service attended and had to pump the water out on both occasions.

Mrs Duncan said: “I was 
distraught by the whole thing. For two months I couldn’t use my sitting room while they dried out the basement to satisfy the insurance.

“Some of the water was sewage, so it’s not nice to know it’s in your home.

“It’s not fair that I’ve had to pay to stop it when someone else is to blame. I’m just on a pension but I am left paying for it when the council is paying for people down the road.”

A council statement confirmed work had been undertaken on Balcarres Street, which had suffered flooding caused by an antiquated sewer.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s environment convener, said flood prevention work was planned for Egypt Mews, but reiterated that the primary responsibilty rested with the homeowner.

She said: “The council’s flood prevention team are planning work which will significantly reduce the risk of flooding from this culvert.

“Mrs Duncan has done the right thing in taking steps to protect her home and we would remind all residents and businesses in Edinburgh that it is their responsibility to take appropriate precautions to protect their properties from flooding.”

Howard Royston, head of estates at NHS Lothian, said it was working with the council to resolve any issues.

He said: “We take our obligations as a landlord seriously and are cooperating with the city council, who we understand are looking into the problem of localised flooding in Egypt Mews and the 
surrounding land.”