'Everything's gone': pubs hit by flood devastation

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Devastation: licensees have described the impact of bad weather on their properties amid lockdown (image: Andrew Parsons, Number 10 on Flickr)
Devastation: licensees have described the impact of bad weather on their properties amid lockdown (image: Andrew Parsons, Number 10 on Flickr)

Related tags: lockdown

Heavy rainfall has caused further anxiety for publicans in parts of England and Wales this month, with one operator estimating £10,000 worth of damage to his site.

Storm Christoph has caused flooding and disruption across areas including parts of Manchester, Yorkshire and the Midlands and north-Wales.

Environment Secretary George Eustice warned today that “the danger has not passed” despite rain forecasts easing in parts of the country.

“The water levels remain high and there is the risk of possible further flooding next week so everyone needs to remain vigilant, follow the advice and sign up for flood alerts,” he said.

The Government estimates some 26,000 homes and properties had been affected by flooding in recent days.

Operators shared how they were preparing for or had been affected by the bad weather on social media.

The Square & Compass in Matlock, Derbyshire, for example, posted a video of the flooded venue​ on its Facebook page showing substantial levels of water in its main bar.

The pub used its Facebook page to offer Darley Dale residents sandbags to help protect their homes.

The Fenn Bell Inn was hit by floods a week ago when nearby ditches overflowed and burst.

Devastation

Operator Andy Cowell runs zoo pub the Fenn Bell Inn in Medway, Kent and estimated the damage to be around £6,000-10,000. 

“It’s devastation," he explained. "We have had a foot and half worth of water come into the pub. It has gone through the main bar into dining rooms, behind the bars, it has wrecked all the floors, all the stock, tables, chairs, carpets. Everything's gone.”

It is the third time the pub has been flooded out this year, with the pub hit hard by Storm Ciara in February, and Cowell said concerns about the maintenance of the ditches had been raised to the council.

Cowell added: “We've spent nearly £4,500 on new floors because we got flooded out in February last year. It's just an escalation of what we’ve dealt with for the last six years. We’ve been incredibly well supported by local community, who have come together and done GoFundme pages for us, we've got people running and doing fancy dress and all sorts to help us with the costs.

“We will work extremely hard and try and survive but it is very difficult. We haven't earned a penny since the end of November.”

The licensee said he was grateful for the "amazing support" from brewery Shepherd Neame, including a full rent reduction for the lockdown. 

Sleepless nights

Another operator worried about a repeat of past flood damage is Anthony Woan who runs the Flying Dutchman in Padiham, Lancashire.

The Flying Dutchman was hit hard by Storm Ciara in February 2020
The Flying Dutchman was hit hard by Storm Ciara in February 202

Storm Ciara meant the site was closed for four weeks but improved road drainage and pavements have put the pub in a better position to face Storm Christoph.

The operator said he had been having “sleepless nights” with alarms set every few hours to check the levels of the nearby river as “things can quickly change”.

Woan said: “I was expecting it to be the same [as Storm Ciara] but there has been no issues so far. I'm hoping the worst is over.”

Related topics: Health & safety

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