Extreme weather has battered venues over the last week as Storm Babet raged, forcing some sites to close and leaving others fearful further heavy rain later this week will further impact their businesses.
Owner of the Onslow Arms in Loxwood, West Sussex, Rob Barr told The Morning Advertiser extreme weather predictions could worsen already “challenging” winter trade.
He said: “When you're talking about winter numbers, your monthly takings are a lot smaller, but this weather then has a bigger percentage impact on it. On a [bad day], you're probably looking at being down 60% to 70%.”
Barr added while the Onslow Arms has been lucky to avoid flooding since 2013, he was concerned the nearby canal and river were close to bursting their banks as the nation prepares for Storm Ciarán later this week, with more heavy rain and flooding predicted.
He continued: “It's a beautiful setting and a lovely place to be, but on the flip side we do have to contend with the weather conditions.
“Aside from fire, water is one of the most destructive elements Mother Nature can bless us with, if it wants to find its way through something it will.”
However, the operator added the importance of pubs as community hubs shows during times of crisis, as many become “refuge points” for locals, providing warmth, shelter and a hot drink or meal.
“A lot of sites have backup generators and can become a refuge point to help people through tough times”, he said.
In addition, Barr urged there were “lots of things” that could be done by local councils and central Government to help communities up and down the country manage extreme weather better.
He explained: “A general mistreatment and mismanagement of waterways and sewage systems are now coming to bite us when these weather conditions hit.”
Clean up mission
Ebony Hardy, who works behind the bar at the Ship Inn, in Mevagissey, Cornwall, added the pub had lost around £2,000 in revenue and stock due to the recent flooding, which was so severe fish were spotted swimming inside the establishment, and had also had to invest in new flood prevention equipment, such as sandbags.
Hardy added the pub, which sits at one of the lowest points in the village, gets flooded “all the time” when nearby tides are high, adding the weather forecast for later this week had left the owners feeling stressed as they “never know what’s on the way”.
She said: “We've lost stock because it’s been floating in the water, we've had to bin it all.
“We've had to shut early a few times just because the water was so deep; we had fish swimming in and all sorts.
“A lot of the people that work in the pub came down early yesterday to help out and get the drains cleaned up, sweeping, cleaning, going over everything [it was a big clean-up mission].”