The town of Whalley, like many others across the North of England, experienced significant flooding during the winter floods of 2015. On Boxing Day, the Environment Agency issued three severe flood warnings – including the River Calder which runs close by. The heavy rainfall caused the river to peak at 3.68 metres – considerably higher than the typical maximum of 2.2 metres. The resulting flood waters burst through protective banks and caused the flooding of dozens of local homes and businesses.
One of those to be affected was Precious – a fashion boutique in the centre of the town. The store was flooded throughout by more than a foot of water and as a consequence proprietor Marianne Hyde contacted Flood Ark in May 2016 with a view to installing flood barriers at the premises. Marianne had applied for the government’s Flood Resilience Grant.
“Some of the businesses on King Street had a lot more damage than us. We do live above our shop but at least we were able to get away from the flood damage and live a normal life. We only had a few days’ disruption in our home whilst the electricity was off so the chaos was at the beginning for us. We had a lot of help from local residents to clean the shop, so we got that done within a couple of days and were able to open about three days later with a concrete floor and limited decoration.”
“When we got the plastering done we had to have tanking put on which is a water proof coating underneath. We also made sure that any cracks in the cement floor were filled because the water came up through the floor as well. Now we’re all on with the flood resilience grants in order to get flood barriers and things like that. You have to be prepared that it will happen again and at least next time we will hopefully buy ourselves a little more time.
Following an inspection by the local council in October 2016, our barriers were signed off and Marianne explained how happy she was with the standard of the service and installation she received from Flood Ark:
“Really fantastic service, I cannot praise you highly enough. Nick worked early and late to make sure we had the minimum of disruption. We didn’t want to close the shop because we cannot afford to lose any more trade on top of the time we had to close after the flood. A surveyor from Ribble Valley Borough Council came round yesterday (18th October) to sign off the work for the grant – Jim and Melisa were very thorough in checking the workmanship, fitting the flood boards to the barrier. They were more than happy with the job.”
The Federation of Small Businesses estimate that 29% of businesses have no insurance to cover any loss of income, incurred costs and damage to property resulting from a flood. By taking the decision to protect her business, Marianne knows that she will not have to experience the inconvenience caused by flooding again.Farm Cottage, Keswick, Cumbria Irwell Valley, Lancashire