Ribbon cut to officially launch New Cumnock Flood Protection Scheme

An event to mark the completion of New Cumnock’s £8.97m flood protection works was held today, with guests getting the chance to see the culmination of almost two years’ work that will protect residential and commercial properties near the Afton Water and River Nith.

Councillor Neal Ingram, Cabinet Spokesperson for Roads and Transportation and Jamie Sime from the main contractor, Wills Bros Civil Engineering Ltd, cut the ribbon to officially launch the scheme.

Phase one of the scheme was completed at the Leggate in November 2018. The extensive phase two of the project, which started in May 2021, involved a combination of engineering measures including 900m of earth embankments, 1200m of reinforced concrete walls and 600m of riverbank strengthening.

Prior to work starting on phase two, a major gas main and other utilities within the area had to be diverted, which was a significant project in its own right.

Phase two of the project comprised of:

  • south of Afton Bridgend: works to construct embankments and concrete walls on both sides of the river
  • north of Afton Bridgend to the River Nith: the construction of further embankments and concrete walls to protect areas downstream and the relocation of the car park area at the shops
  • additional works to construct a wall to the rear of Miller Road, and bank protection measures were installed to the riverbank at Castlemains Farm

The original plan was for both phases to be completed sequentially however the commencement of phase two of the project was impacted by the effects of Brexit, Covid and the worldwide materials shortage which meant that work had to be reorganised wherever possible.

Councillor Neal Ingram said: “It is incredible to see the flood protection scheme being completed successfully despite the external obstacles that provided many challenges along the way.

“This scheme has been an enormous undertaking and is so extensive that it’s one of only a handful in the whole country that is modelled on a one in two hundred year, plus climate change, flooding event.

“We don’t ever want to see a repeat of the devastating floods of 2013 and 2015, therefore we are pleased that we have been able to complete the works to protect the village and bring security and reassurance to the local community.”

Jamie Sime, Site Agent for Wills Bros, added: “Wills Bros are proud to have delivered this key flood protection project on behalf of East Ayrshire Council. We would like to thank the surrounding residents and businesses for their patience and cooperation during the works and look forward to seeing the lasting benefits the project will bring to the local community in protecting homes and businesses from flooding in New Cumnock.”