Top – damage caused by flood water to the exterior wall at The Ship Inn, and Steve Heaton of DCF Flooring with ruined stock
RESIDENTS and businesses have been left counting the cost of Storm Ciara this week with one business owner describing the damage caused by flood waters as “soul destroying”.
The storm dumped record amounts of rain on North Kirklees in a 12-hour period on Sunday, resulting in flash flooding in large areas.
Homes and businesses were hit across the district, with surging water affecting parts of Dewsbury town centre, Heckmondwike, Ravensthorpe, Liversedge and Cleckheaton, flooding dozens of houses.
High winds also caused damage to scores of properties. But Mirfield again bore the brunt of the storm, experiencing water levels that surpassed the Boxing Day floods of 2015.
Flood-prone Steanard Lane and Granny Lane suffered a familiar fate, and two roads leading into the town were impassable as the River Calder burst its banks.
The Ship Inn on Steanard Lane, one of the most regularly-flooded spots in the district, was forced to close following damage to its exterior area and around 130 properties in Mirfield were left without gas for two days after water made its way into the gas mains.
Steve Heaton, managing director at Design Contract Flooring on the Holme Bank Mills industrial estate, lost around £10,000 worth of stock as a result of the floods.
The business park is situated on the banks of the River Calder.
“The lads have all pulled together,” he said. “It’s happened to us before so I was aware of what we needed to do and how to approach things but it’s still a kick in the teeth. It does take the wind out of your sails.”
Graham Ervine, who owns Mirfield Mill Carpets – situated next to Mr Heaton’s business – also lost hundreds of pounds’ worth of stock.
“It leaves so much devastation and mess behind. The clean-up effort is hard work, tiring, and it does get a bit draining,” he said.
“Anything that the water touches becomes contaminated and has to be thrown out. It’s soul destroying.”
This is the second time in less than five years that Mr Ervine’s premises have been affected by flooding, the first being the Boxing Day floods of 2015.
And the 57-year-old is forecasting more problems for his business, and Mirfield as a whole, in the near future.
“I think things are going to get worse,” he said. “With Storm Dennis coming over the weekend we could be in exactly the same position again on Monday.
“If that does happen we’ll just have to smile and get on with it, but if this becomes a regular occurrence I’ll be forced to shut up shop. It really does get to you emotionally.”
Leader of Kirklees Council Shabir Pandor says the local authority will provide financial support to local residents, organisations and businesses who have been left with damaged properties.
“The impacts of flooding at the weekend have devastated some of our communities and it’s heart-breaking to see,” said Coun Pandor (Lab, Batley West).
“Yes, we could always do more – along with other West Yorkshire leaders I am continuing to press the government to invest in flood defences.
“We want to work with local people, organisations and businesses affected by the flooding to make sure they have the support they need.
“Funding will also be available to help those who need to repair their properties following the extreme weather conditions.”
Anyone impacted by flooding can contact the council on firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 01484 221000.