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Businesses left to count the cost
ONE of York’s worst floods in modern history brought devastation to about 30 businesses and homes, as soldiers scrambled to bolster defences with sandbags and firefighters ferried carers to stranded pensioners.
Environment bosses said more than 2,000 properties were saved by a combination of flood walls, embankments and the Foss Barrier and pumping station after the Ouse peaked yesterday at 5.07 metres above normal summer levels – marginally higher than the major 1982 floods, but still about 35cm or about 1ft 2ins below the level reached in 2000.
It was a close call for anxious householders in the Leeman Road area of the city, where floodwaters came up through drains and lapped at doorsteps.
Salisbury Terrace resident Pete Bishop said his home was “one step” away from being flooded.
He said: “The drainage system needs looking at. This should not be happening in this day and age.”
The beer cellar at The Jubilee pub was overwhelmed by floodwaters and landlady Kelly Bailey spent much of the day retrieving barrels from the cellar.
In Skeldergate, firefighters carried carers to 33 residents stranded in the City Mills sheltered housing complex, some of whom needed urgent medical attention.
In Peckitt Street, 30 soldiers from 2 Signal Regiment helped with sandbagging operations early yesterday and another 70 filled more than 4,000 sandbags at Cawood to support existing defences.
Five businesses in Tower Street – Dickinson’s Cafe, The Olive Tree restaurant, Ali G’s takeaway, Ning Malaysian restaurant and Castle Pool And Snooker Club – were flooded out.
Andy Spracklen, co-owner of Ning, which opened in May, said it was knee-deep in water but he was determined to reopen as soon as possible, even though his insurance did not cover flooding.
The Grand Opera House called off last night’s Upbeat Beatles concert and tomorrow’s How Sweet It Is production because of flooding in the lower foyer bar and orchestra pit, but said they would be rescheduled.
Comedy Club events scheduled for tomorrow and Sunday in the flooded Basement Bar of York’s City Screen cinema were also cancelled but the cinema remains open.
Tourism organisation Visit York reassured potential visitors the city was fully open for business.
North Yorkshire Assistant Chief Constable Iain Spittal condemned motorists who had put their lives at risk by crossing closed bridges before they had been deemed safe.
City council leader James Alexander said he had heard Environment Agency investment in improvements to Leeman Road flood defences was to be scaled back so money could be reallocated elsewhere, but the agency said the scheme was going ahead as planned and would be meeting him to allay his concerns.
The northbound A1 north of Dishforth finally reopened yesterday after flooding shut it earlier this week.