COMMUNITIES across North Yorkshire are today beginning the clean up after heavy flooding throughout the region.

Although heavy rains were replaced by light showers yesterday, overflowing sewerage systems in Old Malton meant many properties suffered damage.

Claire and Guy Richardson’s home in the town’s main street suffered, but they saved some possessions.

Claire, 38, said: “The flood defences have held which makes a huge difference. The water is at skirting board height. We have got our stuff upstairs and, living next door to the Royal Oak pub, we have taken some empty barrels and put our sofa on top of those.”

Martin Dales, town councillor, said organisations tackling the floods had been “fantastic”, but he hoped it would lead to a new look at protecting the town. He said the sewerage system was unfit for purpose, and urged the district council not to build more housing on fields.

He said: “I hope Yorkshire Water revisit what we hoped they were going to do, post the 2000 flood, and we will have some serious action.”

Miles Simmons of The Wentworth Arms in Old Malton said the pub was still open, despite the floods, but many regulars could not get in. He said: “The lucky thing is that it’s clean water that’s coming in, and hopefully it’ll recede soon. I was up all night mopping out the cellar making sure it didn’t get above a certain level and get into the bar.”

Gillian Cruddas, chief executive of Visit York, stressed that York was fully open for business. She said: “The city’s St Nicholas Fayre begins this weekend and we are looking forward to welcoming thousands of visitors.”

Performances at City Screen’s basement venue are cancelled until Sunday, and the venue’s lift is out of action.

A spokeswoman said the cinema and bar were open, but though visitors in wheelchairs would be unable to access the screens or the disabled facilities, she hoped the venue would be back up and running in full by Monday.

Helen Douglas, general manager of York Dungeon, said the lower floors were flooded again, six weeks after being pumped and dried out. Some repaired parts of the attraction were removed ahead of the flooding to prevent damage, but the drying out would have to be re-done.

She said they still hoped to open next spring. She said: “It will be dried out again which could take up to two weeks. The rebuild starts again as soon as it’s safe for the contractors to get back in.”

Staff at Fiesta Latino next door were working around the clock to save their £40,000 refurbishment, with seven pumps running to clear the lower floor.

Joe Ferraioli, one of the owners, said the restaurant should reopen by Friday. He said: “We’re dead on our feet, but we’ve got to be here, we can’t leave the property any longer than half an hour, otherwise the water rises.”

In Selby district, flood warnings were issued for the River Derwent at Thorganby and Bubwith. The Cawood bridge, B1222 and B1223 were closed as a precaution, where Kelfield Ings had flooded, though not to September’s level.


‘Thanks for your help’

YORK council leaders have praised staff, residents, traders and 999 crews for their resilient response to the floods.

Council leader James Alexander said: “I’d like to personally thank all residents who have helped to make the important job that emergency services staff do across the city that little bit easier this past few days. This also includes many of our own front line staff who've been out 24/7 filling sandbags, building flood defences or ferrying residents across those parts of the city which are flooded. So, while a few roads remain temporarily closed, the city is very much operating as normal. York is open for business and ready for the festive season.”

Kersten England, chief executive of City of York Council, said: “I’d like to thank everyone across the city, whether they are residents, emergency services, businesses or partners, for really pulling together this past few days in dealing with the floods. Many of our own front line staff have been working round-the-clock to help keep York open and residents safe – a big thank you goes out to them too.

“We’re already turning our attention to the clean-up from the floods and ensuring our residents and businesses get the support they need.”


Homes hit by landslide

Preparations are being made to demolish a row of cottages overlooking a North Yorkshire harbour after a landslide left them in danger of collapse.

Torrential rain has led to the gardens and patios behind Aelfleda Terrace, in Whitby, sliding down the steep slope below them and they are now 30ft lower than the 150-year-old terrace.

The landslip also saw a huge slab of rock and earth, about the size of a minibus, crash into another terrace of homes below.

Engineers are worried five homes on Aelfleda Terrace will collapse and plans are being drawn up to demolish the houses.

Work is expected to begin today although it is understood the steep, tight location will present demolition experts with a number of problems.

The terrace of fisherman’s cottages overlook the seaside town from the east side of the River Esk and are only a few hundred metres from the historic Whitby Abbey.

One resident, Jude Knight, said: “I’m just devastated, I’ve lost everything, I’ve lost 26 years of my life, that’s how long I’ve had this property. I feel very sad and I feel very angry.”

The other threatened homes are thought to be holiday cottages.

A Scarborough Borough Council spokesman said: “Owners have been allowed back into their properties briefly to retrieve their personal belongings, but the whole area has now been cordoned off.”