Floods: Wells two weeks on

Paddy McAloon inside The Fleece pub which was flooded by the high tide. Picture: Ian Burt Paddy McAloon inside The Fleece pub which was flooded by the high tide. Picture: Ian Burt

Saturday, December 21, 2013
11:30 AM

The seafront at Wells, submerged by the tidal surge, bounced back with a stirring Christmas Tide festival last weekend – but the flooding misery continues for several quayside properties and businesses.

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The Golden Fleece pub is expected to remain closed until March or April. Steven Brundle, 60, who became co-owner of the pub on the morning of the tidal surge, said he had been visited by insurance assessors this week and he hopes he will be covered for the repairs which he estimates could run to £150,000, as well as the loss of takings. His cellar has now been cleared of silt and mud, but he said he is still recording dampness levels of 100% in the downstairs walls, and the flooring on the whole of the ground floor needs to be

replaced. He said: “The final details have yet to be confirmed, but we’re hoping we will be covered for all that. It has been a pretty horrible time, but the people in Wells are a hardy lot and they are all getting back to business. There’s no point crying about it.”

The Wells lifeboat station was also damaged by the powerful tidal surge, with its inshore lifeboat doors ripped off, and an estimated 20 tonnes of sand and shingle dumped by the receding waters. Thanks to the efforts of the crew, who opened the main doors to the onrushing waters to ensure their lifesaving boat was not damaged, the station remained operational throughout the drama. Lifeboat coxswain Allen Frary said: “We’re nearly back to normal, with just one or two minor things to finish off. We have had the contractors here from the RNLI all last week. “The battery chargers for the inshore lifeboat winch were under water, so we have changed the system now, with a different type of charger in a different position so it is safe in case it should happen again.”

Phil Platten, owner of Shop with a View on the Quay, said he didn’t expect to re-open until at least March. He said: “We were absolutely flooded out, soaked to pieces. Now we are waiting for it all to be dried out and for insurers to come and assess the situation.” Mr Platten’s fish and chip shop next door re-opened on the Sunday after the floods, as did Wells Deli further along the Quay. And Chris Brown, from Sands Restaurant and amusement arcade, said his 150 machines would need to be replaced.

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