Flood-hit Padiham traders feel '˜let down' by authorities

Frustrated traders in Padiham say their lives are in limbo as their businesses remain closed following the Boxing Day floods.
Padiham town centre on Boxing DayPadiham town centre on Boxing Day
Padiham town centre on Boxing Day

A number of businesses, in a block in Burnley Road owned by Lancashire County Council, do not know when or if they can re-open as they are still waiting to be assessed.

Surveyors from the county council are due to visit the affected businesses today (Friday) but the delays since Boxing Day are causing anxiety for the business owners.

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Central Cafe, Tony’s Cooked Meats and Khan’s fruit and veg have all been affected.

Tony Heaven, who has run the cooked meat shop for 16 years, said: “We suffered huge damage in the floods.

“The water has ruined all my fridges, freezers and cold counter. Other equipment such as the griddle and slicer, as well as our food stock, has all been ruined.

“It’s frustrating because we just don’t know how to proceed. We’ve been waiting for Lancashire County Council loss adjusters to come and assess the damage.

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“Padiham people have been great, but I just feel we’ve been forgotten by the authorities.”

Kevin Curry, who has run the Central Cafe for 13 years, said his business was in limbo.

He added: “Money only lasts for so long. We’ve been shut for a few weeks now and have no idea when we can re-open. It is very worrying. This is our livelihood.”

Former Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle visited the traders and said he would do what he could to help.

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He said: “These traders are in limbo. It’s been three weeks now since the floods and the traders are still waiting for the county council. It’s a disgrace.”

Another business badly affected was Talk of the Town, which sells second-hand furniture and hires fancy dress.

The shop only re-opened on Monday after severe damage to its stock.

Owner Rachel Clough said: “All our furniture stock on the ground floor was destroyed.

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“Thankfully, our fancy dress stock was upstairs and so was saved. We have managed to get some more furniture but need to sell this to keep going.

“I think there’s a lot of anger in the town from traders and residents who feel the council isn’t doing enough.

“We had storm insurance, which covers damage to roofs, but does not provide cover from floods.”

Padiham Mayor Coun. Jean Cunningham also met with traders, as did Padiham UKIP Coun. Alan Hosker.

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Coun. Cunningham responded to criticism levelled at the council.

She said: “I understand people’s frustrations. We’re doing everything we justifiably can to help.

“Unfortunately we have to go through processes and procedures. It’s frustrating but we have to do it.”

Meanwhile, Padiham Town Council has set up a “flood fund” putting in an initial £1,000.

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The fund will be managed and distributed by Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale Council for Voluntary Service (CVS). Priority will be given to uninsured losses.

Anyone wishing to apply for funding should write, stating what they are applying for, prices and confirming that it is not covered by insurance.

They should write to Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale CVS, 62-64 Yorkshire Street, Burnley, BB11 3BT.

Anyone planning a fund-raising event who would like the funds to be administered by the CVS should make cheques payable to Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale CVS.