Campaigners have said a north-east town “deserves much better” after it emerged there will be a delay on a section of a multi-million-pound flood prevention project.
The “significant delay” is linked to changes to the design and construction phases in the area.
It’s expected the vast majority of the works on the £16 million development will be complete by next summer.
But the Stonehaven Flood Action Group said the hold up is “not good enough” and they are “extremely disappointed” at the delay to the flood prevention measures in the Mearns town.
Chairman Mark Irvine said: “We are extremely disappointed to hear that Stonehaven’s much-needed flood defences are going to be delayed even further.
“Even prior to Covid there were numerous issues and delays which appear to have been extended.
“Why has this been allowed to happen and what guarantees do the public of Stonehaven have, that they are not being put at even more risk, over what is potentially the worst weather period?
“This hardly fills the Stonehaven residents with confidence, going into a period when historically, we have flooded twice. It’s not good enough and Stonehaven deserves much better.”
The town was badly affected by flooding earlier this year – the third time in 11 years.
Conservative MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, Andrew Bowie, said it is vital the local authority get the works right.
He said: “Stonehaven has seen some of the worst flooding among Scotland’s towns over the past several years.
“I urged the council to be upfront with residents about whether to expect delays and was disappointed with the response.
“The local authority plainly needs time to get this scheme right, but people and businesses in Stonehaven need clarity over what to expect and when.”
Councillors were told about the issues during behind closed talks at last week’s full local authority meeting and provost Bill Howatson said it is “regretful.”
He said: “It is, of course, extremely disappointing and regretful that one area of the Stonehaven Flood Protection Scheme is facing significant delay owing to an issue surrounding the implementation of one vital element.
“Those residents affected by this delay have our utmost sympathy and, moving forward, our main priority will be to continue engaging with both them and the wider community.
“The council remains committed to the completion of this vitally important project.”
Work on the Stonehaven Flood Prevention Scheme came to a halt in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic but resumed at the start of the summer.
The scheme is designed to protect homes and businesses that have previously been affected by flooding around the River Carron.
Premises will receive a level of protection well above the current standard required by the Association of British Insurers, and the flood risk will be reduced at 372 homes, two public utility sites, a school and an emergency service site.
It was due to be completed next spring – but the timetable for the works will be amended as a result of the temporary shutdown.