Details of forthcoming public consultation events
The preferred £42m Musselburgh Flood Protection Scheme was approved by East Lothian Council in January 2020. In February 2020 the project team commenced the next stage of the project: which was to undertake an outline design of the flood risk reduction options contained in that Preferred Scheme. This design was to be advanced through a consultative framework with statutory stakeholders, partner organisations, local stakeholders, community groups and the people of Musselburgh, therefore this work was not undertaken after the commencement of the COVID-19 Pandemic in March 2020.
In September 2021 the project team commenced a comprehensive process of consultation with the people of Musselburgh as the initial phase of the restarted outline design. The following summary of the achievements of the autumn meetings are as follows:
- A meeting was held with seven different areas that are in close proximity to the proposed new flood defences in the town;
- There were c.1,200 properties in those areas;
- The project team hand-delivered letters of invitation to c.1,050 of those properties;
- Around 370 doorway discussions took place between a member of the project team and properties;
- Around 100 people attended the meetings; and
- The project collected a huge range of information, ideas, concerns and opportunities from both the door-to-door discussions and the virtual consultation meetings.
The project team continue to engage through this period in meeting with key organisations within the town, and also with a number of individuals and organisations who have identified concerns about the project. The project team remain committed to trying to collecting a wide range of thoughts and concerns before the actual outline design itself commences.
Through the autumn the project team confirmed to each meeting that the next set of consultations was intended for February 2022. Immediately before Christmas the advance of the COVID-19 Omicron variant looked like making this unachievable, however the project team can now confirm that these meetings will be held. The programme of consultation through the early part of 2022 is therefore confirmed as follows:
- The finalised Scheme Flood Maps will be published at the end of next week (4 February 2022);
- A major update to the website will be made by the end of next week (4 February 2022). This will include new pages for each of the local consultation meetings, and the finalised Scheme Flood Maps;
- A consultation meeting will be held at The Brunton on 8 February 2022 to consult on the proposed approach to defences along the River Esk corridor – this will see the previous groups at Goosegreen, Esksides, Eskmills and Inveresk areas brought together;
- A consultation meeting will be held at The Brunton on 9 February 2022 to consult on the proposed approach to defences along the foreshore from the mouth of the River Esk to the Magdalene Bridge on the Brunstane Burn – this will see the previous groups at Edinburgh Road, Fisherrow Promenade and Mountjoy areas brought together.
- A consultation meeting will be held at The Brunton on 8 March 2022 to consult the whole town – it is intended that this will summarise this whole phase of consultation and identify the next steps for the project.
Project Manager, Conor Price, said: “It is highlighted that the project currently remains ‘off-programme’ – i.e. that it does not have clear, future target dates through to completion of the outline design and thereafter Scheme approval. This is due to the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic over the past 22 months, and the commitment of the Scheme to advance through a process of consultation. It is felt that if this current phase of consultation had been ‘programme constrained’ to a specific duration that this could have restricted a full and comprehensive consultation with the town. At this point it is now reasonably considered that this phase may be drawn to completion in March, and the project team look forward to confirming a new, approved programme thereafter.”
Council Leader, Cllr Norman Hampshire, added: “The past year has been challenging for everyone as we have adapted to restrictions and new ways of working. Despite this, the Musselburgh Flood Protection Scheme has been able to make valuable progress thanks to the hard work of our partners and the great team we have at East Lothian Council. As we begin to emerge from the pandemic restrictions we are delighted to make good on our commitment to engaging with the people of Musselburgh as we continue to progress the scheme. When this work is complete a full report on the scheme and the views of the Community will be presented to the full Council for their consideration and direction.”