Flood update: Southwell businesses fear more bad weather will prolong closures

Southwell flood.'Landlord Jim Burley sits amongst the debris at the back of the Bramley Apple which was seriously damaged by flood waters.
Southwell flood.'Landlord Jim Burley sits amongst the debris at the back of the Bramley Apple which was seriously damaged by flood waters.

Business owners in Southwell fear flash flooding will hit trade hard in the popular tourist town.

Pubs, shops and newsagents have been forced to close while business owners try to salvage stock and complete repairs after heavy rain lashed the area earlier this week.

Etiennes Vintage shop on Church Street closed after six foot of water ran through the shop and flooded the cellar.

Alison Schänzer brought the French vintage shop in 2011 but said flooding was a known problem in the area.

When she brought the shop there was still foots of water from the flooding in 2007.

She said: “We had to rescue all the shop items and luckily we managed to get most of it piled up on tables before the torrent of water flooded the streets at around 7pm.

“The cellar was full with six foot of water and we lost a fair bit of stock in there, but without it the damage would be a lot worse.

“It is going to be weeks before we can open again and get back to normal. We were up early this morning pumping water out the cellar. The silt and mud is so thick it made a right mess of the shop.

“It is upsetting because we had been redecorating for six months.”

Southwell is known for its tourist attractions with Southwell Racecourse, Southwell Minister, The Workhouse and range of boutique gift shops attracting thousands of visitors into the town throughout the summer months.

The Bramley Apple Inn, on Church Street, has been open for seven months and was just settling in at the heart of the community.

But landlord, Jim Burley, has said it will be at least six weeks before they can reopen.

He said: “We managed to put sandbags out, but they were little use when the brook broke its banks. There was 12 foot of water in the cellar and the force of the water picked up and moved one of our sheds and caused an outbuilding wall to collapse.

“The outbuilding will now have to be demolished. It is a nightmare but there is not a lot we can do. The community has all pulled together and everyone has tried to help, especially with elderly people.

“It is sad because the pub is the heart of the area.”

Staff at The Workhouse, on Workhouse Lane, said they were worried they would be forced to close if the heavy rains continued.

Sarah Spurrier, house manager, said: “The weather definitely has an effect on us, first of all with transport, the bad conditions has made it really difficult for a lot of our staff and volunteers to get in to work as they all live locally.

“The strong winds and lightning also split a few trees in two and so for us it is really an issue of health and safety. We review the grounds and workhouse daily to check we are safe to open and that can be a challenge.

“In the past we have had to close because of severe flooding but at the moment it is a case of carrying on as normal.

“If we have more bad weather like Tuesday though then we may have to look at closing because staff won’t be able to get in.”