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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Cumbrian shops flooded and roads blocked in Cumbria

Shops flooded and roads were blocked as torrential rain continued across Cumbria.

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Upset: Shelley Williamson, the owner of the shop Strange Fruits in Whitehaven is devastated as her shop is flooded yet again

Traders in Whitehaven, one of the most badly affected areas, said it was the worst flooding they had seen in years.

Fire crews were pumping water out of their premises for most of the morning. Trains were disrupted on the West Coast Main Line because of flooding in Scotland, and a landslide partially blocked the A7 near Langholm.

In Whitehaven, Strange Fruits, in Market Place, had seven feet of water in the basement.

Owner Shelley Williamson said: “This is the worst I have ever seen the floods, the water level came so high that it touched the electrics and it made me worried about the safety of my staff.”

The shop, which is prone to flooding, was checked twice throughout the night but most of the water came between 7am and 10am and a 999 call was placed at 10.30am.

“I don’t know what I would have done without the fire service, they have been brilliant,’’ said Shelley. “I normally try to be resilient and open as usual but it was too dangerous and I was desperate. It is getting worse every year and this time the water was only a foot away from entering the shop.

“It is a worrying time to be a shop owner, but no one is to blame, it’s just nature.”

La Venue, at King Street, had a fire crew pumping water out of the cellar for several hours. The heavy rain caused part of the roof from Boots, also in King Street, to cave in.

Pauline Beck, senior pharmacy dispenser at Boots, said: “We were only half an hour late in opening as we had to mop up, but after years of working here we weren’t that worried.” Staff at the shop had cordoned off one aisle but no stock was damaged.

Clothing retailer M&Co also had to have emergency assistance from the fire brigade as the property in King Street had 18 inches of water in the cellar. Whitehaven firefighters attended for 90 minutes pumping water from the 30m by 20m cellar. Pat Dickinson, the store manager at M&Co, said: “None of our stock was affected, but the water was nearly touching wires and we were concerned.”

One member of the Whitehaven green watch fire crew said: “There was nowhere for the heavy rainfall to go We hope now that we will be able to stay on top of the call-outs.”

In Maryport, firefighters spent hours pumping water away from a housing estate after a suspected blockage in a culvert. Fire crews were called shortly before 7am to Elbra Farm Close at Ellenborough after reports of a culvert collapsing at Gill Beck.

Six firefighters pumped water away from houses close to the culvert. The Environment Agency also brought a pump to help the fire service.

A spokeswoman for the agency said it was suspected that the culvert was blocked and had not collapsed as initially thought.

She added: “With the support of the fire service we have been pumping water from the beck to allow us to access the culvert to remove the blockage.

“We will continue pumping through the night and will aim to clear the blockage when the water flow is lower in the morning.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and teams are on site to reassure the local community.”

The road through the estate was partly flooded and firefighters were forced to cordon off part of the road. Adrian Holme, station manager, said crews were diverting water away from two homes and a further six were at risk of flooding, but none had actually flooded.

He added that by the late afternoon they had reduced the water levels significantly. At 4pm, fire crews left the scene and the Environment Agency stayed to continue pumping water.

On the roads, School Brow, Moresby Parks, Coach Road, King Street and Irish Street, Whitehaven were all closed due to standing water and the road between St Bees and Egremont along with Trumpet Road, Cleator Moor and the A59093 in Silecroft near Millom were flooded but passable.

Go to www.newsandstar for the very latest on the weather situation

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