HIS home, he says, smells like a rainy day.

Murray Wilson has just clambered in to the cellar of his pre-war Cambuslang semi.

Squatting, the 49-year-old shoogles a dipstick in the basement’s concrete floor. Lifting it out, he can see the damp in his house’s earthen sump.

He can smell it too. “It’s like walking by a river, “ he says, “it’s like fresh water . It attracts flies, it’s not very nice.”

Since 2011 Mr Wilson, a gas engineer, has been regularly lowering himself in to the hole under to house to check he is not being flooded.

FULL STORY: Thousands of Scots in legal limbo as roads unadopted

He has a couple of pumps - one of which switches on automatically when the usual damp turns to full-flow cascade of rainwater. And Mr Wilson always knows when it is going to get bad, a day or two after the heavens open.

There had been no history of flooding on the property on Eastfield Avenue, where Mr Wilson has lived for 27 years. What changed? The Hawthorn Estate was built.


Murray Wilson in his cellar, picture by Colin Mearns

Just up the a brae from his semi are neat rows of tightly packed new-build white homes. This used to be a grassy, partially wooded hill. Now it is asphalted over.

Everybody knows this is where the water comes from. Mr Wilson, clutching a small plastic container, explains how. “This is dye,” he says. “Workers came and poured in to drains up in the Hawthorn estate. And, sure enough, it eventually turned up here.”

The hill acted “like a sponge”, Mr Wilson says. “It was a natural green belt. I never thought there would be houses on it because it was a slope.”

Barratt was the builder. They have been trying to fix snagging on their drains for years. Things, Mr Wilson says, are getting better. The flooding is not as extreme was it once was.

FULL STORY: Thousands of Scots in legal limbo as roads unadopted

The local council, South Lanarkshire, has not been, so far, impressed. Officials have sucked their teeth and told Barratt they will not “adopt” the roads until the drainage problems are solved.


How Mr Wilson pumps out his cellar

Which means that a decade after the white houses went up, the roads, Hawthorn Way and Hawthorn Avenue, are still the responsibility of the builder, not the council.

These streets are among hundreds in Scotland stuck in a legal limbo between developers and councils.

Mr Wilson is also in a kind of limbo. He does not want to sell his home. But he could not do so even if he did.

“There would need to be a home report and they would see all this,” he says, waving at goods stacked on pallets to keep them dry. “The floor has all eroded through the water. “


The new Hawthorn Estate

But Mr Wilson has sympathy for neighbours whose streets are not adopted. In England similar issues have hit house prices and left whole communities with substandard services. In Scotland - where there are thought to be some 20,000 new homes on streets still to be adopted - the issues has barely been recognised.

Mr Wilson says: “Throughout Scotland there are lots of people who buy a house and think everything is fine, the drainage is fine and the road is adopted.

“But then - lo and behold - it turns out they are not because they have not submitted the proper drawings or it is not fit for purpose.”

FULL STORY: Thousands of Scots in legal limbo as roads unadopted

There is hope of a resolution in the Cambuslang case. Gordon Mackay, Head of Roads and Transportation at South Lanarkshire Council, told The Herald “We are in dialogue with Barratt Homes and Scottish Water in an attempt to have them resolve the outstanding deficiencies in the drainage system that would allow Hawthorn Way and Hawthorn Avenue to be adopted. We are currently awaiting confirmation that necessary remedial works have been satisfactorily completed.


Hawthorn Estate

David Scott, managing director, Barratt West Scotland said: “We are working with Scottish Water and South Lanarkshire Council to resolve offsite works to improve the drainage, which will hopefully be completed by year end, allowing the local authority to take ownership of the roads affected. We are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.”

Mr Wilson, in his cellar, has been waiting a long time. “Myself and my neighbours are still not happy,” he says.

“All the modifications they have done have really helped but I am still using gallons of disinfectant to take away that smell.

“And I have had years of worry. Rain is not like it used to be. The climate is changing. Now you get a monsoon any time.”

And that, for Mr Wilson, means pumping out his cellar.