Wee Kelpie awash – but council says ‘no drainage system could have coped’

Rainfall in Helensburgh last weekend was so heavy that ‘it is unlikely any drainage system would have managed’, it was claimed today.

The comment from Argyll and Bute Council came as the town’s double award-winning chip shop the Wee Kelpie finally reopened – after being forced to close because of flooding on Saturday night.

Under water: West Clyde Street last Saturday night
Under water: West Clyde Street last Saturday night

The Wee Kelpie is one of the businesses on West Clyde Street which have been badly hit by the £6.6m CHORD roadworks, which have been dogged by delays.

A secret council report – revealed on this website under Freedom of Information legislation last November – pinned the blame on lighting, lack of design information and drainage issues.

And the same month, the council said that after talks with Scottish Water it had been agreed that extra work would go ahead to counter future flooding problems in this area, delaying the project by another three weeks.

Despite all this, last Saturday night businesses on West Clyde Street had to mop up after being hit by floodwater – the damage was so bad that the Wee Kelpie to close for three days so it could be redecorated.

Businesses in the area are furious, saying the CHORD work has made the flooding issues worse than before, but the council said that an official had been on the scene within five minutes of being called by police at 9.15pm on Saturday, clearing the gullies of surface debris by 10pm.

A spokesman said: “The council has installed new drainage in Helensburgh to mitigate the effects of severe weather. This includes a new pipe which discharges surface water directly in to the sea, reducing the amount of water going in to the combined system.

“Other drainage improvements include the installation of non-return valves in the combined drainage system, which ensure that any backflow of fouled water is mitigated against as far as possible.

“With the intensity of the storm over the weekend it is unlikely that any drainage system would have managed the sheer volume of rainfall.

“The CHORD contractor also attended – the site is still in their care.”

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