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Residents count the cost as Braunton flooding clear-up starts

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: December 27, 2012

  • AFTERMATH: Bridget Oliver helps clean out the London Inn. Picture: Rob Tibbles.

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THE clear up operation in Braunton began on Sunday.

The centre of the village was under four feet of water in some places on Saturday morning. But by Sunday the water had cleared, allowing people to assess the full extent of the damage.

Despite the devastation caused some businesses were determined to reopen by Monday to ensure they didn't miss out on last minute Christmas shoppers.

Dominic Hughes, from Hunter, a surf shop in The Square in the village, said he had lost 25 per cent of his stock but was still hoping to reopen as soon as possible.

He said: "It is pretty devastating but we are clearing up now. There was about three inches in here when I got here yesterday at 6am but we are hoping once we have cleared everything and got the dehumidifiers in here it shouldn't be too bad."

Ben Byrom, who owns West Cross Garage in Braunton, is in charge of distributing sandbags in the village when flooding is expected.

He said: "This has been the worst I have seen it. I got the call from the Environment Agency at 5am on Saturday and came straight down.

"We only had ten sandbags to begin with so they went pretty quickly. Evans Transport and Travis Perkins helped out and gave us sand and sandbags so I think we must have handed out 3,000 sandbags in total.

"The trouble is the flood defences work but the river is too jammed up at the memorial gardens with trees and silt – it acted as a dam.

"I was taking some around with my canoe on Saturday morning.

"The other problem has been though that the drains are blocked so the water has had no where to escape."

Mark Ridge, who owns The London Inn in Caen Street, estimates the damage to the pub will reach a total of £80,000.

He said: "The water was up to the top of the bar. We have lost all our stock so more than £10,000. It is awful. We should be so busy now and instead we are clearing up.

"All the fixtures and furniture will have to be replaced, I am waiting to hear from the insurance company but a lot of people are off work now for Christmas."

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