Flood-affected businesses back on feet after wrath of Desmond and Eva


More than 1,000 businesses have declared a return to trading more than four months after being hit by severe flooding during winter storms, the Government said.

Around a fifth of small firms affected by the widespread floods have signalled that they are open for business on a special online map, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

It added nearly 5,000 businesses across Cumbria, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Northumberland were affected by storms Desmond and Eva, which wreaked havoc during December.

Among them was Paul Tarry, the landlord of the Wagon And Horses pub in Lancaster, whose cellar flooded with around 14ft of water, forcing them to shut for three months until the end of February.

The 59-year-old estimated the costs in damage and lost custom was more than £250,000.

"We had bookings for 800 people over Christmas - we had to let all those people down," he said.

"People have been absolutely great since we reopened - we've had a number of people coming to have Christmas parties in March. We did not bother with the tree and crackers.

"We could not wait to reopen - people said 'did you have a holiday?' We have to say 'no we did not not, it was damn hard work'."

Mr Tarry said he was aware of six other pubs and restaurants nearby that had still not reopened.

Another business which has returned to trading was Calcaria Stoves, in Tadcaster - the village whose 250-year-old bridge was completely destroyed in December's floods, leaving the popular tourist spot cut in half.

The eco-friendly stove firm had been flooded twice in the 10 months it had been open but was able to get up and running again within three weeks.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: "It is testament to the sheer hard work and remarkable spirit of company owners across Cumbria, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Northumberland that just four months after devastating floods they are now back and trading once more.

"We're determined to stand behind flood-affected areas for the long-haul and have made millions of pounds available to help them get back on their feet - as the clean-up continues seeing businesses reopen helps communities return to as normal a life as possible.

"So I would urge businesses across the area to register their details on our dedicated map - and show tourists and residents alike that they are open for business."

The map, launched two months ago, is part of the Government's support package for flood-affected businesses, which also included £250 million in funding available through local authorities.

According to the Environment Agency, more than 20,000 properties were flooded as storms Desmond and Eva swept across the country and December became the wettest month on record.