Leeds flooding struck at heart of business

DECEMBER 27, 2015: Workmen try to clear flooded Wellington Street, Leeds.
DECEMBER 27, 2015: Workmen try to clear flooded Wellington Street, Leeds.
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It is a time for family, putting your feet up or browsing the sales in search of a bargain at the shops.

But for a dozen business owners this year, Boxing Day is a bitter reminder of how they lost everything 12 months to the day when the River Aire overflowed and threatened their livelihoods and employees.

The flooding on December 26, 2015 in Leeds affected a mixture of more than 3.000 homes, businesses and other premises.

And while the majority of places were dried, refurbished or ready to reopen to customers in the months that followed, some businesses sadly remain closed as a result of the water damage.

The latest figures come as the YEP prepares to launch a series of special reports from Boxing Day, taking a deeper look at the devastation the floods caused across Leeds and beyond.

Of the 371 commercial premises that flooded after the Boxing Day deluge, 12 are still out of business one year on.

Businesses forced to close permanently include Duffield Printers and Thyssen Krupp Woodhead’s Leeds site - which resulted in the loss of 90 jobs.

In response to the flooding, Leeds City Council began a Flood Alleviation scheme this year.

The first phase of the scheme, which covers a 4.5km stretch of the River Aire, includes the country’s first moveable weirs at Knostrop and Crown Point.

It also concentrated on putting in place a series of projects to reduce flood risk and prevent flooding repeating on the same scale in the city.

Phase two of the scheme is due to start in 2018.

RELIEF FOR CITY BUSINESSES

Cash grants were offered to help businesses get back on their feet following the Boxing Day floods.

Schemes set up by Leeds City Council this year included:

Flood Relief (clean-up) grant: £2,500

Flood Resilience and Resistance grant: £5,000

Hardship/Top-up grant: £10k

LEP grant: Max £100k match-funded

Business Rates relief: 100 per cent for 3 months and sometimes longer.

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