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22 Dec 09
It was exactly a month ago that the first images of flood-hit Cumbria were beamed across the UK, showing waters up to 8 feet high in places, homes all but swept away and businesses facing an uncertain future. Visiting Cockermouth, Workington and Keswick just four weeks later the picture is very different…
When the flood waters receded - some of which had reached 8ft - they left behind a coating of silt and sewage on everything they had touched.
Businesses have shaken themselves off and are doing their best to carry on. Leslie Cleeland Ltd are operating from the small part of their Cockermouth Main Street premises, which was unaffected by flood waters, thanks to a speedy interim payment from their insurer and some quick work by our major loss adjuster, Phil Scales. There are businesses “buddying up” in unaffected premises, a hairdressers has taken up residence in the corner of the local pub and numerous companies are working from temporary premises provided by Mitchells Auctioneers, thanks to a grant for £100,000 from the North West Development Agency.
With just five weeks between the initial flooding and Christmas Day, there was little expectation that families could return home before “the big day”. Fortunately due to the high percentage of holiday accommodation in the area – the Lake District attracts tens of thousands of tourists each year – there has been little trouble finding alternative accommodation where needed. Mrs Ryan, a policyholder from Cockermouth, explained: “It soon became clear that we were going to have to leave our home for some time while repairs are carried out – the damage was just too much, there was no way we could have stayed. We are now settled in to our temporary home. We’re just a couple of miles away and quite comfortable.
“Things seem to be happening at a good pace back at our house, so I feel as though we can relax and enjoy Christmas and the New Year now, which is a real blessing.” Mrs Ryan’s repairs are being carried out by Oriel contractors TEC.