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York and Tadcaster open for business as flood clean up begins
YORK and Tadcaster are open for business – that is the message from local leaders as the big clean-up begins.
Business owners and Mayor Stephen Cobb say Tadcaster has been like a ghost town since the bridge over the River Wharfe closed on Wednesday amid fears floodwaters might have caused structural damage.
Dave Stainthorpe, owner of Cyclesense, a specialist bike shop in High Street, said yesterday that trade had been “atrocious”. He said: “We are probably 75 per cent down. On a Friday morning, we normally have a flurry of customers. This morning we have had two.” He said customers had rung up believing they might not be able to drive in to Tadcaster.
Coun Cobb said the county council had launched a free shuttle bus service from one side of the town to the other but it remained like a ghost town. “People need to know Tadcaster is open for business.”
Mel Pratt, partner at Calcaria Carpets & Furnishings in Commercial Street, said business had been really quiet and so he had put out a sign at traffic lights up the road from his shop, saying: “Businesses open down hill.”
In York, Gillian Cruddas, chief executive of the tourism organisation Visit York, said it had taken a series of steps to correct misperceptions that the city was totally flooded, for example emailing all visitors who had booked an imminent stay in York to reassure them and using social media to get the message out.
“We are doing everything we can to reassure the public that there is no need to cancel or postpone any plans they may have to visit York in the coming days,” she said.
“All attractions, shops, bars and restaurants in York remain open, with the exception of those few which are located by the riverside, where there has been localised flooding.”
Meanwhile, divers are set to enter the Wharfe at Tadcaster again today in the hope of inspecting the bridge foundations to discover if they have suffered structural damage.
They tried yesterday but gave up because the water was still flowing too fast. The bridge can only reopen if it is found to be structurally sound. Another closed bridge at Boroughbridge was reopened to pedestrians last night, with divers due to inspect it today.