Lancaster worst hit flooded area in whole of north west

Aftermath of the unprecedented flooding over the weekend in Lancaster.'Members of the Gregg family fill a skip with the ruined contents of their business, Cunningham Jewellers on Chapel Street.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'7-12-2015
Aftermath of the unprecedented flooding over the weekend in Lancaster.'Members of the Gregg family fill a skip with the ruined contents of their business, Cunningham Jewellers on Chapel Street. PIC BY ROB LOCK'7-12-2015
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Lancaster businesses were the hardest hit by storms in the region, according to new figures.

The findings by UK insurance provider Simply Business revealed that Lancaster was hardest hit by the December storms, with more than a third of claims (36 per cent) in the north west being made here, followed by Carlisle (19 per cent) and Blackburn (17 percent). Many businesses are still struggling to get back on their feet.

Mitchells of Lancaster pubs The Bobbin and The Yorkshire House have been closed since the floods hit on December 5.

Both premises fared badly, with The Bobbin in Chapel Street ending up under three feet of water.

Jonathan Barker, director at Mitchells, said: “Our insurers have been round to both premises on a number of occasions and things seem to be progressing well and they have been fair.

“It’s likely that both The Bobbin and The Yorkshire House will be closed until Easter. The Bobbin was between two and three feet under water in the trading area so it was hit very badly.

“It was completely unexpected. All the flooring, bars and toilets will be replaced, as well as electrics, plumbing and decoration. We’ve tried to place some of the staff in other pubs so they have continuity, and of course staff will be able to come back to their jobs once the pubs re-open.”

Nursery shop Simply Baby, which has temporarily moved to premises in New Street, expects to re-open in its North Road frontage by Easter.

Rees Tiles, which was completely under water following the floods, has had a complete overhaul, with a new sales area and a new showroom at its Lake Enterprise Park premises. The Green Ayre pub was also badly damaged by flooding. A spokesman for owners J D Wetherspoon said they hoped to reopen in March.

Quite Simply French will reopen on February 5 after a five-week refurbishment.

The quayside restaurant was damaged by the floods but managed to stay open over Christmas and New Year before closing in early January for the upgrade.

The nearby Bay radio premises, in the Grade II listed 26 St George’s Quay, was also flooded.

Despite extensive damage, the station stayed on air during the power cuts and flooding, receiving praise from the community.

But Bill Johnston, managing director of The Bay, said restoration work had been put on hold until a solution to insurance company requirements is found.

“Things won’t be back to normal for us for many weeks whilst restoration works continue and we liaise with the insurance companies involved,” said Mr Johnston.

“A lot has been done so far but things have come to a standstill all of a sudden. We’re trying to put as much pressure as we can on both insurance companies involved but it’s a very frustrating process.”

Mr Johnston also praised his staff for working in “extremely challenging conditions”.

If you’re a business with a story to tell about the floods and insurance issues, please get in touch at guardian@jpress.co.uk.