York & North Yorkshire

York businesses count cost of flooding

Cumberland Street in York
Image caption Businesses near the river in York have been inundated with water as the city experiences its worst flood in 12 years

Standing in the centre of York's Parliament Street on a sunny autumn day you could be forgiven for thinking there was nothing untoward going on.

Take a short walk towards the river and the picture changes as you find streets along the riverside closed to traffic as businesses pump water from their premises.

The Castle Snooker and Pool Club, just opposite Clifford's Tower, might look like it has escaped but take a few steps inside and it a very different picture.

Hayley Pugh, from the club, said: "The water is now about 20cm deep. We are usually quite busy at this time of the year with the students coming back to the city."

Like many businesses along the riverside it is impossible to calculate the cost of the damage until the water starts to recede, which could be several days.

"We can't open so we will lose money it is as simple as that. I can't imagine how much it will cost to replace everything. Our carpet cost over £30,000 to put in," Miss Pugh explained.

"It is a small, family-run business which is owned by friends of mine and they have put their life into it."

'Business as usual'

A few streets away on Cumberland Street and half the street is flooded and the top of the street is jammed with taxis.

Usually the taxis would be parked further down the street, outside their office, but floodwater means that is not possible.

A spokesman for Streamline, who did not wish to give his name, said at one point during Wednesday evening they had to switch off their main phone line.

Customers were unable to get through as the level of water rose halfway up the office, he explained.

At the top of Cumberland Street is the city's Grand Opera House.

The Edwardian theatre looks as if it might have escaped but there is water pouring out of pipes coming from the entrance.

The foyer bar and the cellar is flooded and tonight's performances have been cancelled.

Celestine Dubruel, from the theatre, said: "We have to assess the situation and we're hoping to get back to business as usual very soon."

She added they did not know how long that would be but were relieved the auditorium had not been damaged.

Over the road at the York Dungeon it is a similar story.

Costumed actors would normally be frightening visitors with tales of Dick Turpin and re-enacting grisly bits of York's past but today they are helping to pump out the building.

Image caption Two pubs and a taxi office will have to pump out several feet of water before assessing the damage

Serena Redshaw, who works at the dungeon, said the lowest points of the building had been flooded with around 8 inches (20cm) of water.

"We have been trying our best to pump it out but this is definitely the worst I have ever seen it," she said.

Miss Redshaw said it was too early to say when the attraction would be open for business as usual.

Walking back to Parliament Street and you find shoppers and workers going about their normal routines.

Michael Hjort, festival director of the city's annual festival of Food and Drink, said: "The festival takes place in the city centre and it has never really flooded there. We're absolutely fine, the weather has cleared up and we've plenty of things going on as normal."

As one older lady shouted at a bemused tourist: "Don't worry about it love. Its York and we're used to it."

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