HOUSEHOLDERS have been warned they may have to wait another year before their properties are assessed to see if they are due compensation for damage allegedly caused by flood prevention works.

Residents at Stockbridge Colonies, next to the Water of Leith in Edinburgh, have banded together to co-ordinate claims after chimneys caved in and cracks appeared in listed buildings following the controversial works that are running a year late.

Eighteen claims are already lodged. Some of those involve first-floor flats that have suffered from the works despite never being flooded.

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The council will not carry out repairs on any damage proven to have been caused by the works and can only make a final assessment when the bulk of the work is done, according to a document seen by The Herald.

The council is locked in negotiations over the costs of the works, which threaten to double the £11.5 million bill because of the over-run due to bad weather and unforeseen conditions.

The massive civil engineering project has already been going on for a year and has involved the shifting of huge boulders and concrete walls into place as well as the driving of foundations.

Rose Pipes of the Stockbridge Colonies Residents Association said she is awaiting a response to the first claims.

She said: "For residents like me, who live right next to the river, it has been a very anxious year. As well as the noise and disruption caused by the flood works, most of us have suffered damage to our properties and have had a long struggle to get the council to agree to process claims for the cost of repairs."

While the council will process each claim individually, its property management and development department document sets out a framework.

The paper reads: "The council will ensure residents are not left disadvantaged as a result of ongoing liaison with CEC and Lagan [the contractors].

"The council will take ownership of the claims/issues and is eager to progress them. Condition surveys will be undertaken towards completion of the flood prevention works.

Nigel Bagshaw, Green Party councillor for Inverleith, said he been shown damage to buildings which was "undoubtedly" caused by flood protection works, saying: "I hope the council will make it easy for local residents to claim compensation for damage."

The scheme was initiated after about 500 properties flooded in 2000.