A MAJOR battle is being fought tonight to prevent businesses and home-owners near the River Ouse once again being inundated by floodwaters.

Only two months after September’s devastating flood, scores of sandbags were again today piled up by council workmen and pumps were deployed to try to protect properties in the Friars Walk, Peckitt Street and Tower Street area.

Helen Lavers, owner of holiday apartments in Peckitt Street which flooded in September, said today they had been refurbished and she was hoping they would just avoid being flooded again - although it looked a close call.

Andy Spracklen, co-owner of the Malaysian restaurant Ning, echoed her comments and revealed the restaurant was already set to close once again for about a month in January for a more substantial refurbishment, following initial repairs after September’s floods. Nearer the river, the Lowther and Kings Arms pubs were already under water today.

Mehmet Yaman, proprietor of the 300-member Castle Snooker & Pool Club in Tower Street, which re-opened only recently after an expensive refurbishment, said he could not afford a repeat. “If it happened again, that would be it,” he said.

City of York Council said most businesses in York were unaffected and the city was open for business.

All planned surgery was cancelled at Northallerton’s Friarage Hospital today because of rising floodwater from a nearby stream, despite firefighters’ efforts to pump water out of the stream.

Rail passengers travelling from York to London faced delays and disruption when Network Rail shut the East Coast Mainline near Doncaster for several hours because of concerns that the pillars of a railway bridge might have been scoured by the swollen river below. Passengers had to travel from York to Leeds to catch trains to the capital.

A replacement bus service was launched by First Transpennine Express between York and Malton today afternoon because of flooding at Malton, with a train shuttle service running between Malton and Scarborough.

The Environment Agency issued put flood warnings for agricultural land alongside the River Ouse in the Selby district, at Cawood, Kelfield, Wistow and Selby.

The Buttercrambe Road near Stamford Bridge was blocked by flooding, and a flood warning was issued for the Weir Caravan park in the town.

The River Foss in York burst its banks, causing the closure of Huntington Road and putting nearby properties at risk but Innes Thomson, Area Flood Risk Manager for the Environment Agency, said the eight pumps at the Foss Barrier and pumping station were all ‘doing their job,’ and protecting hundreds of properties, by pumping water from the Foss into the Ouse.