Dura Den house demolished two years after flood

The site of the demolished house at Dura Den.
The site of the demolished house at Dura Den.

A house in Dura Den, badly damaged by severe flooding in autumn 2012, has finally been demolished as restoration work continues in the hamlet.

When water built up then breached a wall at the side of a blocked weir, the large roadside house caught the full force of the torrent, leaving big cracks in the property.

Local resident Jane Homer-Boyd, who this week referred to that “cold, wet, dark morning” of the devastating flood, praised the contractors who carried out the demolition.

“The process was expertly accomplished by very skilled and talented workmen who performed the task with the utmost sensitivity,” she said.

“A powerful machine, with a grabber attachment looking like the jaws of a prehistoric dinosaur, was manipulated to and fro, gradually nibbling away at the house.

“Yellow-jacketed workmen with hard hats, some members of the family whose home it had been and a few neighbours stood in silence as the event unfolded.

“The scene was similar to that of watching a beautifully choreographed ballet by a team of very caring professionals.”

During the flood, the Ceres Burn was effectively diverted down the steep road through the upper reaches of Dura Den.

Sections of the carriageway were washed away, leaving dangerous drops at the edge of the road, which has been closed to traffic since.

Several houses had to evacuated following the deluge, with a some remaining unoccupied while they were being dried out and repaired.

An often heated public meeting was organised shortly after the incident, with anger expressed over the failure to keep the weir free of debris.

While questions remained unanswered over who actually had responsibility for the weir – and its ownership – Fife Council quickly took action to demolish the old structure.

One resident said at the time she faced a bill of £100,000 to repair her house.

She was on holiday in Florida at the time of the flood, returning to find her house had been under three feet of water.

The cost, she pointed out, did not include the mammoth task of clearing boulders and the trail of destruction left by the torrent.

Paul Hendy, director of the Scottish Flood Forum, described the damage as the worst he had ever seen.

Prior to the major works getting under way, some lower cost and less complex wall and parapet repairs were completed.

The Council is spending £800,000 on road repairs, although there has not been universal support among locals for the reopening of the route that links Dairsie and Pitscottie.

Towards the end of last year, there were some calls for the authority to abandon the work.

Many locals, including residents of Kemback and Pitscottie, have taken to walking and cycling in relative traffic-free safety along the picturesque route. Kemback, Pitscottie and Blebo Community Council revealed, however, there was a consensus that the road should reopen.

It was also pointed out by Fife Council that it was “legally bound” under the Roads Scotland Act to reopen a road after repairs.