York & North Yorkshire

Flood hit Tadcaster battling back from devastation

Aerial shot of flooding in Tadcaster December 2015 Image copyright PA
Image caption Tadcaster was badly flooded following heavy rain at Christmas

People living and working in a town ravaged by floods have said they are still struggling to recover from the devastation six months on.

Scores of homes and businesses in Tadcaster were damaged by flooding at Christmas, while the bridge across the River Wharfe collapsed on 29 December.

Some residents are still waiting to return home and one shopkeeper said trade was down by about 25%.

Meanwhile, a fund to help those affected has raised about £26,000.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The town's bridge collapsed on 29 December due to the force of flood water
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Dozens of businesses and homes were evacuated following the flooding

Alex Bailey was forced to abandon her home in Wharfe Bank Terrace on Boxing Day.

She said: "At the start of it we really had no idea what we were in for, but I truly never envisaged that we would be six months on and still not be able to live here. It has been truly awful."

Within days of the bridge collapsing, the government pledged £3m for repair work and a further £1.4m was awarded to the scheme by the regions Local Enterprise Partnership to enable it to be widened and strengthened.

But with work not due to be completed until the end of the year, people can now only cross the river via a temporary footbridge.

Mr Bailey said: "Even now, on the high street, I feel like there's nobody there. You think 'Can Tadcaster actually get through this? Will we get back? Will the town thrive and flourish?'.

"The bridge is the lifeline of the town, we really need that back."

Image caption Alex Bailey has not returned to her home since being evacuated on Boxing Day
Image caption Flood water in Ms Bailey's home reached about three and a half feet in places

Butcher Nick Devine estimated he had lost up to a quarter of his trade as a result of the flooding and, in particular, the collapse of the bridge.

He said: "There's no passing trade. We always knew it was going to be tough this year, but we're getting by.

"When the bridge is back up and running it will come back and we know it will."

Image caption Nick Devine said he was hopeful business would return to Tadcaster once the bridge reopened to traffic

North Yorkshire county councillor Don MacKenzie, who has responsibility for highways, said: "What was a pretty devastating occurrence last December 29 could well lead to a silver-lining - improvement for the bridge for the town of Tadcaster."

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