Updated at 4.30pm – additional information added at end of story
The troubled CHORD works in Helensburgh town centre have been hit by yet another delay.
Originally due to be completed in mid-September, the roadworks in West Clyde Street now look set to drag on until the end of November.
The latest delay to the £6.6m project follows a meeting yesterday between officials from Argyll and Bute Council and Scottish Water.
A council statement said the ‘constructive’ talks had agreed that more drainage works were needed.
The statement adds: “To ensure that, if there is flooding in the future, it would involve only surface water and not waste water a series of non-return valves will be installed on the south side of West Clyde Street to augment the non-return valves on the north side, thus further reducing the risk of flooding in severe weather conditions.
“This is in addition to work on the north side of West Clyde Street agreed by the council and Scottish Water on August 14 2013. The above works are also in addition to the CHORD design approved by Scottish Water on November 17 2011.
“Whilst these additional works to south side of West Clyde Street will cause some delay to the Phase 1 CHORD works of approximately two to three weeks, both parties feel this is the correct course of action to take to mitigate against future flooding in the area.”
Under an amended timescale, released by the council in September, this section of work was due to be complete on Friday (November 8) – instead, as many hard-pressed traders had predicted all along, it will drag on into the Christmas shopping period.
The CHORD project was discussed in secret at a meeting on October 24.
The minutes of this meeting are now available online, but drainage and Scottish Water are not mentioned – although it is stated that the council’s lighting service directed changes to the original scheme ‘which will be of benefit to the community of Helensburgh’.
The meeting was told that this meant additional costs and changes to the timeline of this part of the project.
Four hours after this morning’s statement, a further announcement was made by the council’s press office, stating that the council, Scottish Water, the CHORD design team and contractors had worked together to reduce the time needed for the drainage work.
The second statement reads: “In the process of carrying out planned development work on the south side of West Clyde Street, an opportunity was identified to reduce the risk of local flooding by installing a series of non-return valves in the drainage system.
“An additional £5,000-plus will be invested by the CHORD project in improving the drainage system.
“The impact of these works was expected initially to cause a delay of around two to three weeks, but a way has been found to minimise the delay to approximately 7-10 days, starting early next week.
“The decision to carry out this unplanned work was taken following consideration by Argyll and Bute Council and Scottish Water of the longer term benefits to residents.”
Councillor Ellen Morton, policy lead for infrastructure said: “I am pleased that Scottish Water and the council have been able to take this opportunity to further reduce the risk of flooding on West Clyde Street, at minimal cost and with minimal delay to the delivery of the improvement project.”