Save our Heritage Garden from Flood

£1,050 of £25,000 goal

Raised by 32 people in 6 months
We are James and Carol Coutts and own and operate a specialised garden and nursery in Newtonairds, Dumfries

Following a long period of ill health we bought a B listed lodge  in an acre of land hoping to build a rewarding and less stressful life by creating a beautiful, inspiring and interesting ‘plantsman's garden’.

Newtonairds Hostas & Garden has for the last 10 years been open to the public and contains a National Plant Collection of fragrant flowered Hostas (Hosta plantaginea cultivars and hybrids)

It provides a very special and atmospheric space for visitors to enjoy, recorded over the years by BBC television in their Gardener’s World programme and various newspaper articles.

But whereas our move initially achieved for us all that we had hoped and expected, in 2009 we suffered the first of four catastrophic floods (2009, 2011, 2013, 2015) which submerged our single story home and garden to a depth of up to 1.25 metres.

On each occasion it has been an exhausting and extremely expensive struggle to recover our home and repair the devastating damage to the garden.

Moreover, the adverse impact of past floods on the insurability of the property and its attractiveness to prospective purchasers has so reduced its value that we are unable even to move and begin again elsewhere.

We have spent many thousands of pounds to date on flood mitigation products, flood surveys, and the repair and rebuilding of the garden.

Despite this, we have managed to keep the garden open to provide a minimum income and raise around £7000 for local and other charities

However a nursery and visitors garden which floods 4 times in 7 years is commercially untenable and now faces extinction.

After several years of personal research and fruitless discussions with our local council we invested much of our savings in a survey and report by a national hydrological expert.

Our advisor concluded that the problem emanates from the past removal of a railway embankment that previously protected our property from occasional overflow of the River Cairn, which is consistent with opinions contained in correspondence received from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency

Removal of the railway embankment was permitted by Dumfries & Galloway Council despite documented warnings from local residents as to the likely consequences for the environment.

However, the Council denies all responsibility and says that as only our property is at risk we are not eligible for financial assistance and must protect our own property from flood water.

They insist that the legal responsibility is with the landowner who offloads the water onto our property. However, we argue that the Council was deficient in ever allowing the work to proceed and, given our compelling technical and legal opinions provided by our advisors, we are determined to fight on.

The Garden, and particularly the fragrant flowered national Hosta Collection, is a significant tourist attraction and is visited each year by hundreds of people from all over the world.

We believe the loss of this B listed property and very special Garden & Collection would be tragic for Dumfries & Galloway.

Moreover, we want to regain our previous ‘quality of life’, to feel safe in our own home, and to be able to sleep at night without need for constant 'river and rain watch' during the months of October through to April. 
And, of course, to maintain our lovely garden for the enjoyment of ourselves and others as can be seen on our website www.newtonairds-hostasandgarden.co.uk

However, our only way forward is to seek and obtain a legal remedy for which we need help to meet our legal expenses.  

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Thank you to all who have donated in the last 2 months. We have had another hearing (last week) where little progress was made due to the very late submission of any defence from the councils solicitors however a new date has been set for a debate, with both sides legal representatives and the Sheriff, in early March 2018. We hope for more positive news then but in the meantime it allows us 3 months to raise more funds from our supporters with the hope also that this winter will not see us out of our home once again for New Year.

The video attached is one I found the other day. I filmed it on New Years day 2016 and it shows the immediate and obvious damage to the garden but of course not the long term damage of dead plants from water damage which becomes clear as the seasons progress.

Hostas & Garden New Years Day 2016
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Encouragingly in the past 48 hours we have raised £160 from 3 donors for our Campaign. Thanks to all who are donating, supporting and sharing information to spread the word for us.
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£1,050 of £25,000 goal

Raised by 32 people in 6 months
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Francesca Bolognani
1 month ago
Jackie & George
3 months ago (Offline Donation)
Angie, Emma, Richard, Poppy & Mum
3 months ago (Offline Donation)
Ken Woolfenden
3 months ago
Roy Stickland
3 months ago
John Crook
3 months ago
English Gardening School
3 months ago
4 months ago
4 months ago
Marie and Dave Ashdown
4 months ago
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