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Fowey businesses count cost after flooding deluge

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: October 19, 2012

  • FLOOD FIGHT: Owner Tania Daniel and barista Dani Barlow stand defiant against the flood at Brown Sugar, Fowey.

  • Owner Tania Daniel and barista Dani Barlow stand defiant against the flood at Brown Sugar, Fowey. BOTL20121017C-003_C

  • Owner Tania Daniel and barista Dani Barlow stand defiant against the flood at Brown Sugar, Fowey. BOTL20121017C-002_C

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GALE-FORCE winds and torrential rain have left businesses counting the costs after floodwater poured into their properties and destroyed their goods.

A high tide, heavy rain and gale-force winds during the early hours of Wednesday morning saw seawater swallow up Fowey Town Quay before flooding the town's streets.

Further along the River Fowey, properties were also hit in Lostwithiel when the river burst its banks and floodwater seeped into the town.

Tania Daniel, who runs Brown Sugar Café in Fowey, said her husband, Brett, knew they were in trouble when he saw that the Town Quay was under water while on a boat that morning.

She said they found the café's basement to be waist-deep in floodwater, destroying several fridges, freezers and some of its stock.

"It has been a long day," said Tania. "It took us four hours to pump out the water.

"When all the water tries to go out the drains get overfilled and it comes up from the basement. It rises up because it cannot get out.

"We are not using the basement again after today. This is the third time this has happened in the past three of four years; (it was) this bad once before. The town was quite badly flooded."

Tania was forced to close her café for the day while she and others worked to clean up the mess.

"We have spent the day salvaging everything we can and moving everything up to higher levels," she said.

"It has probably cost around £400 to £500 when you consider what we have had to throw away. You cannot risk floodwater.

"I think there will be more tonight and tomorrow. I don't think it is over yet."

Tania said several other businesses had been badly hit in the town.

Fowey harbour master, Paul Thomas, said he has lived in the port town for more than 20 years and has seen flooding of this kind before.

"They used to row from Albert Quay to the town quay down the main street," he said.

"It wasn't quite that bad this week but that doesn't make it any better for those who have had their properties damaged.

"It's a combination of high tides, low pressure and a big spring tide."

Meanwhile, Lostwithiel's Quay Street resident, Drew Wallbank, awoke to around 1ft of water in his street. He praised the town's flood wardens but believes flood defences installed in Lostwithiel "didn't work".

"Despite spending a lot of money on flood defences, it is clear that they didn't work," he said.

"The one-way valves that were installed didn't seem to work. The flood wardens did an excellent job, going round knocking on doors and making people aware of the risk."

Paul Gainey, from the Environment Agency, said: "We knew there was a spring tide and gusting gale-force winds and a lot of overtopping.

"Some properties were affected by this in Cornwall and we know of 20 properties that were flooded, but most of these were in Looe."

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