No warning for uninsured Blackpool businesses
Blackpool village, which suffered very extensive flooding twice in 2001, was seriously flooded again this morning. Flood defences in Blackpool had been improved on a number of occasions since then but could not cope with the volume of water last night, devastating some businesses in the bridge area.
Many businesses in Blackpool have not been able to get any insurance since the severe double flooding.
Bill Dunlea, from The Coffee Pot in Blackpool village was at his business from 4am this morning.
He and a small army of volunteers spent this morning cleaning out his flooded café.
He has not been able to get insurance since he was flooded twice in 2001. “This is frightening. No one can get insurance here.
“This time there was no room in the culvert for more water, it was full. It was the pure volume of water that caused the flooding,” he said.
Bill is also the Chairman of Blackpool Community Centre. “Lots of people are coming to give a hand here – there’s great community spirit here,” he said. “There has been a fantastic response this morning.”
“We are 21 years here. Hopefully we will be open tomorrow.”
He also said that after the last floods the traders put a strategy in place. Every trader’s number was taken and given to the guards, who were to ring the traders in the event of an emergency. This never happened. “There was no phone call and no warning,” he said.
“People couldn’t get out their doors on Great William O'Brien Street. They also lost furniture. Something could have been done if people were warned. People have lost their cars.
“The damage has been done now. There was four of feet of water in Centra. Blackpool Church is flooded and won’t be opened for two weeks. Mass will take place in Blackpool Community Centre instead,” he added.
Tim O’Brien from Trident Cleaners on Thomas Davis Street in Blackpool village was warned about the flooding at 1.10am by his niece who was coming home from work in town.
He came down to his premises and could see the danger due to the velocity of the water falling. “There are no storm drains in Blackpool Shopping Centre. It was a natural flood plain which has been taken away. The water has to go somewhere,” he said.
He went to Gurranabraher Garda Station to alert them but had they had no list of traders’ telephone numbers. The emergency services had been alerted but no one turned up in Blackpool village, he says.
He rang Cork City Hall at some point between two and four this morning and they came within 20 minutes, he says. A digger arrived at 4.10am but could do little to stem the flooding, as the culvert couldn’t take the flow.
Tim is also the Chairperson of Blackpool Traders' Association but has managed to keep his business open today.They largely escaped damage as Tim and staff worked through the morning to keep out most of the water.
“I applied for flood insurance on Tuesday – just sent the email but there is no flood cover in Blackpool,” he said.
Cllr Patricia Gosch was walking around the village this morning checking damage. She said: “It’s not fair on the business people. They can’t take this flooding. We have to get to the bottom of why this is happening. The City Manager needs to come down to the coalface here.”
Businesses in the Sunbeam Industrial Estate were also flooded heavily. Teresa O’Brien in Unforgettable Flowers was badly flooded and her floor is starting to come up. The café is closed but her flower business remains open.
Next door in Tiles’R’Us they spent the morning clearing out the water but hope to be open tomorrow again. Employees at Factory Carpet Outlet don’t think they will be able to open for a few weeks. All their stock is ruined, including hundreds of carpets, mattresses and vinyl floor covering. They tried to see the funny side and said that “water beds are half price”!
City manager Tim Lucey said today that Cork City Council would have to assess why the flooding happened in Blackpool and in other places in the city. He said that culvert improvements were undertaken in 2002 but they must look at why Blackpool flooded this morning.