Flood Ark

Whalley, United Kingdom

The Toby Jug is a delightful teashop serving cream teas and home cooked foods to tourists and locals in the pretty town of Whalley in the North of England.

Whalley is a picturesque town with lovely stone buildings and a vibrant local economy. Unfortunately, when the River Calder floods, Whalley gets hit hard. The excess water overwhelms the drainage and sewerage systems and starts bubbling up out of manholes, and cascading down the high street. Proprietor of The Toby Jug, Peter Ireland, explained to us what it is like living in an area that floods.

“We have lived at our house and shop for 36 years, it is a beautiful place with a lovely garden. The only problem is it’s prone to flooding. Over the years, we have flooded several times with a few inches of water and then in June 2012, we flooded with 17 inches.”

However, that flood was nothing in comparison to what the town experienced on Boxing Day 2015, when a month’s rain fell in the space of just 24 hours. It was later announced that the floods were the worst UK floods on record. Peter told us about the damage caused as four feet of water rushed through their house and shop.

“Our old screw-in floodgates failed us, with water getting around the sides. Even with pumps we couldn’t contain it. So, when the water reached this height at 11.30 [17”on Boxing Day] we decided it was time to leave. The furniture, carpets, fridges, freezers and even the coffee machines up on the counter were ruined. Pretty much the only thing we salvaged was the tables and chairs.”

Following that flood, Peter was able to apply for a Flood Resilience Grant. This was a central government funded scheme orchestrated by local authorities in flood-hit areas. It allowed the owners of homes and businesses affected by flooding to access funds that could be spent on protecting their properties against future floods. Peter was impressed with our barriers and decided they were the best way to protect the Toby Jug Teashop.

“There are some weird flood prevention things around the village but nothing as professional as yours. For me replacing Floodgates, it has to be something better that met the British Standard. I cannot understand why you would use anything else when you are getting council grant money to pay for it! You only get one chance with these. Once I saw your system installed at Poppies across the street, I knew that is what I wanted.”

Because the Toby Jug Teashop is a 17th Century Grade II listed building, we had to work closely with the planning officers at Ribble Valley Borough Council. We provided detailed drawings and specifications to help Peter submit his heritage statement to get Listed Building Consent. This process takes time and patience. Finally, having obtained permission, we started installation on 18th April 2017, with the work signed off by the council on 8th May 2017.

We have spoken to Peter since his barriers were installed and he is delighted:

“I am very happy and if anyone wants to come and have a look, it will be my pleasure to show them.”