AS the region begins to get back on its feet after the June floods, two borough businesses are counting the cost of being hit twice in just five weeks.
Joblings Garage and Bathrooms Whitley Bay on Burnside Road in Cullercoats, were affected when the storms hit the region on June 28, and as the downpours returned on Sunday the businesses were once again left picking up the pieces.
Both businesses are now struggling to come to terms with not only a loss of business and equipment, but a further insurance claim that could leave them uninsurable in the future.
Bathrooms Whitley Bay owner George Campbell said: “Five weeks ago when the floods hit we had to strip it out and let it dry out, but now we’re back to square one, covered in sewage.
“You could see stools floating in it, and there were people actually swimming in it.
“We are losing business because of this. It was devastating to happen again.
“It is exceptionally hard to take. It is almost the end of the business at this location. There is a strong possibility that we won’t be able to be insured at this location again, and I’m not sure how we can get back from that.
“I think the rates should be cut or stopped for local businesses, because we can’t operate from here, the clean up could be smoother.”
Joblings Garage owner Glen Jobling said: “We were really distressed as we didn’t think it would happen again so fast, and so soon after the last flood.
“There’s not a lot we can do, and now we have so much equipment that has been damaged or ruined.
“We are having to try to fix what we can so we can continue to do MOTs as if we are unable to do them it will easily put a small business like us out of business.
“It is obviously inadequate draining, we are just worried about what if it happens again, as there is nothing we can do.”
On Monday weather forecasters issued a yellow weather warning for the north east with further heavy rain predicted, and the Met Office warned that downfalls could hit the region leading to a likelihood of localised flooding.
Floods closed the A1058 Coast Road at Heaton, Newcastle’s central motorway and the A19 at Jarrow on Sunday, and the Swing Bridge will be closed for several days to repair damage caused by the weather.
The coast escaped the worst of the rain with only minor flooding of some roads although Blue Reef Aquarium in Tynemouth suffered flooding and was forced to close early.
Northumbria Water, the Environment Agency, North of Tyne Primary Care Trust, Northumbria Police and the Fire and Rescue Service have all pledged their commitment to be involved, along with representatives from across political groups.
The group will undertake a comprehensive fact-finding on the flooding in the borough on June 28 and the subsequent severe water levels resulting from extreme torrential rainfalls on Sunday.
Linda Arkley said: “I am delighted that there is a wide commitment to support the task group and ensure that we are all working together to make sure we are all more resilient in such extreme weather events.”
North Tyneside Council and its service teams have a vast experience in responding to the impact of changing weather patterns, which over the last few years has included the coldest December on record, horrendous floods, the hottest March on record this year when temperatures reached 78 degrees and then the extreme downpours on June 28.
Elected mayor Linda Arkley said the council’s role is to protect the most vulnerable, to work to keep key highways open to allow emergency services to access the vulnerable, to protect council owned buildings and to ensure the public are equipped with information to enable them to be prepared for potential flooding.
“There is an awful lot of work carried out by teams across the council, and with our partners, to make sure that we not only respond to severe weather events, but are also well prepared for them,” she said.
“For example Northumbria Water has invested a great deal in the drainage and sewerage system, which has made a difference, and as a council we have improved our gully cleansing approach.
“Now there is more unpredictable weather events we need to review how the council and its partners prepare and respond for the future.
“We shall be reviewing our approach to gully cleansing in response to these weather events and we shall similarly be asking partners like Northumbria Water to consider their investment plans for North Tyneside.”
The council’s Environmental Services monitored water levels on Sunday, and cleared gullies where debris washed into drains by the rainfall had caused a temporary blockage.
Three homes were affected in the borough by flood water, and sandbags were given to eight properties.