Legal advice sought over ownership of floodgates

3211085 SSHC flood barrier 'John Thomson with his flood barrier - at home in Freuchie Mill, Freuchie
3211085 SSHC flood barrier 'John Thomson with his flood barrier - at home in Freuchie Mill, Freuchie
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PEOPLE considering buying properties in flooding hot spots are being urged to study the small print on the paperwork after vital flood protection equipment was packed into a removal van along with the furniture during a house move.

Freuchie Flood Action Group founder John Thomson is seeking legal advice about whether floodgates are classed as ‘fixtures and fittings’ after a resident in the flood-hit community of Freuchie Mill sold his house and took its floodgates with him.

They were later returned, but Mr Thomson says the incident highlighted a legal ‘grey area’ and reinforced the importance of people making sure their property was protected.

DEVASTATED

Freuchie Mill hit the headlines exactly three years ago when it was devastated by floods and since then a number of flood prevention measures have been installed, including the floodgates.

The floodgate system, which residents paid for themselves, was custom-constructed on site before being installed in individual doorways, with the guide rails of the system being sealed and screwed onto the door jambs.

But with one floodgate missing, it was feared that adjoining properties were put at risk.

Fortunately, however, it was returned just in time for last week’s heavy rainfall, when 40mm fell in Freuchie Mill in just 24 hours.

“Residents deployed all their flood prevention products at Freuchie Mill,” said Mr Thomson.

“Many had a restless night – some even had a completely sleepless night.

“The automatic floodgate on the newly-installed Greentree Brae Bridge was manually closed over by a concerned resident who lives nearby.

“Local residents and FFAG, with support from Freuchie Community Council, fought a vigorous campaign for this bridge to have a floodgate to prevent a repeat of the August 2008 flood.

“We have lots of examples of work by individual property owners, the local community, Kingdom Housing Association and Fife Council.

“Too many people, even those who have been flooded, believe it should be all down to the council to stop flooding, but the general public need to protect their own property.”

For more information on flood prevention measures, visit www.floodaction.org.uk