Swamped

The Ellon community has joined together to clean up the mess caused by major flooding over the weekend.

The River Ythan burst its banks in the early hours of Friday causing extensive flooding in the Meiklemill and Meadows areas.

Picture Arthur Gill

Picture Arthur Gill

The resulting floods meant that a number of residents had to be evacuated from their homes.

Those evacuated from Meiklemill were taken to the Buchan Hotel, while those rescued from The Meadows were given shelter at the old Ellon Academy hall.

A number of local schools were also closed on Friday as staff were unable to make it to work due to various road closures across Aberdeenshire.

Dozens of people watched the raging torrent from the safety of the old Ellon Bridge on Friday and at one point the lower end of the Riverside Cark Park was submerged and the public toilets were closed.

Picture Arthur Gill

Picture Arthur Gill

The Meiklemill bridge was also closed on Friday and over the weekend due to high water levels.

Businesses were affected by flooding including The Tolbooth Pub in Station Road which was forced to close for four hours.

Local groups, churches and businesses were quick to offer help in the aftermath of the floods.

A team from Ellon Baptist Church and Ellon Food Bank offered help to those effected.

Picture Arthur Gill

Picture Arthur Gill

The Ellon Air Training Corps distributed food, clothes and materials, Tesco Ellon staff delivered food hampers to homes in Modley and The Meadows, and pupils at Ellon Academy were also on standby to help with the big clean up.

Ellon residents spoke of their shock following the adverse weather, Sandy Simpson said: “This is as bad as I can recall since the development of the town centre.”

Norman Sim added: “I thought we had escaped the worst of it, so it was something of a shock to see the height of the Ythan. I have never seen anything like this in 60 years of living in Ellon.”

The village of Newburgh was also cut off for a time after the floods on Friday morning were at their worst.

Resident Joe Russell said: “From what I could see the access to the village was blocked at the top of School Road, but quickly cleared by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service who with other local services did a first class job.”

There were also concerns that School Road was breaking up quite badly because of the flooding and the heavy flow of traffic to and from a new housing scheme in the village.

Flooding was also reported in the centre of the village at the site of the old Udny Arms.

The village of Methlick was badly affected too, causing severe disruption to traffic heading to and from Ellon.

Bus services came to a stand still in the face of flooding from the nearby River Ythan.

Aberdeenshire Council delivered skips to affected areas on Monday to collect damaged items.

Ellon councillor Gillian Owen expressed her profound amazement at what she saw on a tour of the area.

She stated: “There are clearly a number of issues that need to be addressed including the safety of the Meiklemill bridge, the speed of the water going under the bridge was quite frightening.

“I will be pressing for the council to undertake an immediate inspection of the bridge to ensure that it continues to be safe to use.”

She added: “While the academy was not directly affecte by the Ythan, local burns and ditches were under huge pressure and water flooded the academy car park, this has alfeady been drawn to Officers’ attention.

“Boatie Tam Brig was closed because of the rise in the waters, we need to review both these issues as a matter of urgency to ensure they do not affect the running of the school in the future.

“I am concerned that the change in weather patterns that we have experienced over the last few years could mean further episodes in Ellon and flooding in Foveran continues to be a real issue, we need to look at our planning for the future and long term weather forecasts so that we can put in place measures to minimise disruption in the future.”

Cllr Owen concluded: “I would like to place on record my thanks to all those involved in the rescuing of residents in Ellon and Newburgh, the emergency services, Aberdeenshire Council workers and locals who volunteered their help.”

Fellow councillor Rob Merson paid tribute to all the services who played their part in the rescue: “I would like to commend the swift response of all the services who rallied so quickly to the emergency, and worked throughout the night to bring the flood victims to safety and provide temporary accommodation for the families affected.

“I was devastated to survey the extent of the flooding in Ellon and my heart goes out to all those families who have seen their homes and cherished possessions destroyed.”

New funding of over £12 million has been made available to help areas affected by severe weather across Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed on January 9.

The funding is in addition to the £4 million announced by the Deputy First Minister in his budget statement, bringing the total package of support to over £16 million.

£5.8 million will be made available to support households and business properties affected by flooding.

The funding will be used by Local Authorities to provide every household, business premises or charity directly affected by flood water with a grant of £1,500.

Aberdeenshire has been allocated £2 million.