Wellingborough business owners left counting the cost of 'tsunami' floods

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A month's worth of rain fell in one hour on Sunday afternoon

Wellingborough business owners are clearing damage to their premises after last night's devastating floods caused by one month's worth of rain falling in just one hour.

Town centre roads were turned into rivers with shops and restaurants being inundated by a deluge of water and litter that swept through Church Street, Cambridge Street and Park Road - converging on the corner of Market Street.

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The force of the water flooded through shops and was so great that a car parked was picked up and spun round.

Mad Tatters tattoo studio was knee-deep in flood waterMad Tatters tattoo studio was knee-deep in flood water
Mad Tatters tattoo studio was knee-deep in flood water

Val Wilson, co-director of Rutherfords Locksmiths in Market Street, said: "It was Wellingborough's version of a tsunami.

"The drains are no good and they never have been.

"I think we've lost thousands of pounds worth of stock and in loss of earnings. We've had to stop our sign making because the electricity has gone off."

Water cascaded through the multi-level shop, pooling up to two-and-a-half feet (80cm) in the store rooms and stock cupboards at the back of the shop.

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Cambridge Street on Sunday afternoonCambridge Street on Sunday afternoon
Cambridge Street on Sunday afternoon

Deliveries of locks, watches, straps and batteries that had been left on the floor for unpacking were submerged and ruined.

Wayne Brooks, co-director, said: "Every time it rains the pavement floods. On a wet day you can't get into the shop.

"It was admittedly a lot of water that came very quickly. I've never seen anything like it in my life."

The business that was started in the 1950s by Mrs Wilson's father has been flooded three times before, with the last serious floods in the late 1990s.

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Val Wilson sweeps the mudVal Wilson sweeps the mud
Val Wilson sweeps the mud

Tim Nolan, co-director, said: "We don't want to leave the town centre. We want to be loyal and it would be a shame to move onto an industrial estate.

"The council needs to do something. The drainage is not adequate because I think the climate has changed and these flash floods will become a lot more common."

Mrs Wilson praised the reaction of the emergency response. She added: "The fire service were absolutely brilliant and were absolute stars."

Staff of Graduate hairdressers in Market Street were also on clean-up duty this morning They had been on the scene yesterday after being alerted by a client.

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Rutherfords staff members tidy up the back yardRutherfords staff members tidy up the back yard
Rutherfords staff members tidy up the back yard

Business owner Naomi Bedford said: "Clearly the drains are blocked. I have never seen them being cleaned out. The little drains don't work.

"We're just waiting to see if the floor will lift up and need replacing."

Abigail Hamid, owner of Mad Tatters tattoo studio in Market Street, said: "We had about one foot of water in the downstairs studio. All the floor will have to come up. I would have thought it will cost us thousands of pounds. It's absolutely devastating but it's not going to defeat us."

Koya Hogor, owner of the Sultan Turkish restaurant in Cambridge Street, had not insured his buildings against flood damage.

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He said: "I am in a big mess. I never believed that something would happen like this.

"The council were warned by our neighbours that the drains were blocked.

BetFred staff caught water from the leaking roof in bucketsBetFred staff caught water from the leaking roof in buckets
BetFred staff caught water from the leaking roof in buckets

"The water was more than a metre high and the cellar was full of water. The fire brigade were really helpful. They were pumping out the water for five-and-a-half hours."

Sultan chef, Riben Ahmed, said: "One week ago there was the fire. We've had the virus and now the flood.

"We'll close for a week and we'll open again next week."

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Cambridge Street neighbours, newsagent Kirti Bajaria and his wife Niru, spent five hours clearing up the flood water from their shop with help from their immediate neighbour 'Barber Adam'.

Mr Bajaria said: "It's all down to the drains - they haven't been emptied.

"I've been in this job 32 years and this is the first time it's happened. I'm hoping it's going to be a one-off.

"I'm insured but I'll have to pay £200 excess. We'll be out of pocket."

Mrs Bajaria added: "It must be the drainage."

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Barber Adam, who had been parking his car at the back of his Cambridge Street shop when the storm hit, said: "I don't know what exactly is broken yet. We had one foot of water in the shop.

"I helped my neighbours clean their shop."

Betfred's shop floor was flooded through the front door, the back fire exit and from flood water bursting through the roof.

Deputy manager Alfie McGlory said: "We've lost thousands of pounds in earnings. When it happened our staff were clearing up when a roof tile fell down because of the leak and nearly hit one of them."

Chim Trim in Cambridge Street also had water come into their business from two directions.

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Barber Zubbery Aboubakary was minutes away from finishing a client's hair when the water started to seep under the back door.

He said: "I was down on the lower level when the water came. We had lots of customers and it started coming through. We tried to stop it but we couldn't do anything about it.

"We've got insurance but we will need new flooring and the electrics downstairs have gone.

"I'm feeling upset but we're not giving up."

Cllr Jason Smithers, cabinet member for highways for Northamptonshire County Council, said: "The gullies have all been cleared but [because of] the deluge of water that came down even if the drain was two or three times the size they wouldn't have had the capacity.

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"The drains are cleared on a rota basis and they are checked regularly. They were functioning perfectly well.

"All the water was competing for space.

"I feel for the business owners. I don't think we could have done any more. It was down to the deluge of water."

Martin Griffiths, leader of Wellingborough Council, said: "The emergency services have done a wonderful job.

"If shop owners have concerns they need to raise that with the county council.

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"Businesses have had enough to contend with and need to know exactly what happened. The Environment Agency and the county council need to look at it."

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