Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
Flood-hit café fights back for reopening
A café in York city centre will finally reopen today almost five months after being badly flooded by the River Ouse, its owner has said.
Dickinson’s Café was one of a row of businesses in Tower Street to be inundated when the river rose to its highest levels in more than a decade last September.
It is the last in the street to welcome customers back – mainly because it is the lowest property and suffered the deepest flooding, said Helen Banks, who owns the café with her husband Ian.
She told yesterday how they thought at one stage in September that the business might just avoid being flooded, as floodwaters threatening the property were pumped away.
They realised the worst had happened when they watched a live local TV news report from Clifford’s Tower at 10.30pm and saw the river had risen further, leaving the café deep under water.
“It was 72 centimetres under water, up to my waist,” she said. “We were just horrified.”
She said they had been aware when they bought the café eight years ago of the devastating 2000 flood, in which the café suffered even more severe flooding.
But they had not expected something like it would happen again.
She said last September’s floods had cost a total of £60,000, including damage to the building and equipment and lost business and stock.
Fortunately, the losses were covered by insurance but they were now seeing a steep hike in their premiums as a consequence.
She said the rebuilding exercise had focused on making the café flood-resilient, so it could reopen much more quickly and with fewer repairs if it was inundated again.
For example, the floors and walls were tiled to waist height using flood-resistant grouting, and plans were in place to be able to swiftly remove equipment and furniture to safety if flooding loomed again.
She said regular customers had been very supportive, regularly popping their heads round the door to ask when they would be re-opening.
She added that to mark the reopening a coffee expert from their suppliers, York Coffee Emporium, would be holding a coffee-tasting session at 11am tomorrow.