Allotment holders lose the plot over tram work floods

Carrick Knowe Allotments are now flooding in heavy rain
Carrick Knowe Allotments are now flooding in heavy rain
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ANGRY plot holders have hit out at the city council after tram works left dozens of allotments flooded.

Vegetables and other plants at the 44-plot Carrick Knowe site, in the west of the city, have been left submerged by water on several occasions since nearby tram works began.

Plot holders Brian Cockburn, Alex Allan, Willie Aitken and Phil Garner

Plot holders Brian Cockburn, Alex Allan, Willie Aitken and Phil Garner

Plot holders said drains had been damaged, meaning even normal rainfall was enough to leave pathways at the council-run allotments waterlogged.

They said that the damage caused to underground drainage pipes by work carried out on a nearby stretch of the tram line had seen floods of up to a foot high wash out their efforts.

The council said it recently met with plot holders to discuss the flooding and that an investigation was under way.

Willie Aitken, 63, treasurer-secretary at the Carrick Knowe allotment and a plot holder for 11 years, said: “It’s shocking. The guys at the end of the site next to the tram line get it the worst and are just praying it doesn’t happen again.

“We pay rent to the council for this – £95 a year for a plot and the current waiting time is five or six years at least.”

Mr Aitken said the allotment had been hit by serious floods on four separate occasions since works began in late 2009, adding that, prior to the tram works, such overflows were unknown.

He said: “The plots were all under a foot of water. Two of the plot holders have been there for 30 years and they have never seen anything like it.

“We had a meeting with the council a couple of weeks ago and one of their people said that even if they find that the drainage has been damaged, it would not necessitate the council having to do any repairs.”

He added: “They need to reduce the possibility of this happening again. They need to run another drain somewhere.”

Brian Cockburn, 78, a Carrick Knowe plot holder for 20 years, said: “When the floods were happening it was very frustrating and annoying, and nobody seemed to be interested in looking for a solution.

“I will be keen to see what the solution is, but they should have some replacement drain between us and the tram line.”

Peter Wright, acting chair of the Federation of Edinburgh and District Allotments and Gardens Associations, welcomed the council’s probe, but said it was overdue.

He said: “If the drainage has been damaged then the council and contractors need to have a meeting with the allotment plot holders at Carrick Knowe to come up with a revised solution that reinstates the drains. It’s not difficult to put land drains in.

“We are pleased that the council and contractors are now taking a proactive stance on the flood issue at Carrick Knowe, but disappointed it’s taken so long.”

A city council spokesman said: “Following a recent meeting with Carrick Knowe plot holders, officers are investigating the issues raised and will report back as soon as possible.”