Ottery businesses still counting cost of flood

The wave of water and hail which ripped through Ottery wrote off 130 cars at Alansway Body Repairs.

OTTERY's businesses are still counting the cost of last month's freak weather.

The wave of water and hail which ripped through Ottery wrote off 130 cars at Alansway Body Repairs.

Works Manager Graham Hudson said the situation is a nightmare as question over what is covered and what is not still need to be answered.

He said: "We are still operating because all the work that we had is gone, but at the moment we are not earning any money. After 29 years this is a bitter blow."

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Riverside Motors was left swamped, The London Inn's beer barrels were washed away before it was flooded, Ottery's businesses were hard hit.

Martin Patterson, 50, owner of Seasons Tea rooms in Silver Street said his family business will be closed for several weeks after it was flooded and the damage suffered was "soul destroying."

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Mr Patterson was up all night battling rising water but his three sandbags and one flood board were not enough to save his property from damage.

He said: "The speed it was coming down Brook Street was like white water rafting- beer barrels one after the other, coming down at such speed you wouldn't believe it.

"I battled with a broom and all sorts trying to keep the water away from doors, by about 2.30pm there was so much water, torrential rain and hail, I've never experienced anything like it in my life, all the drains were blocked, eventually it came in and there was nothing you could have done. We just moved what we could."

The result was wrecked carpets and damaged floor boards. Mr Patterson is now waiting to have the premises professionally cleaned by experts.

He added: "Most shops in Ottery need more help than you can imagine and I am just waiting for the next flood to happen, that is the reality. We live in a fantastic old market town and need people to go and buy from local shops. I did appeal (to the Environment Agency) for flood defence gates two years ago but they refused."

"Its going to be a struggle, you have to try and keep a sense of humour and a smile on your face and we'll get open as soon as possible."

Next door, Karen Pearson worked amongst the sullied stock in her newsagents until the early hours to ensure residents would get their papers.

She said: "It's the worst time of year to happen, I didn't expect to be open but people want their papers and we don't want to let our customers down.

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