Businesses and charities among hardest hit

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The reclaimed land that forms New Quay Road and Station Square formed no barrier whatsoever to the rising tide and as a result businesses in the area were heavily hit, with repair costs estimated to be in the millions of pounds.

The contamination of food storage areas means that some businesses will be closed for some time, while others have been able to reopen, but offering reduced service.

Manager Phil Tindle and his staff outside The Angel hotel which is currently closed due to flood damage''w135005

Manager Phil Tindle and his staff outside The Angel hotel which is currently closed due to flood damage''w135005

The Angel Hotel, which reopened just nine months ago following a £6 million redevelopment, remains closed. A spokesperson for JD Wetherspoon said the ground floor had been complete “wiped out” and a table smashed through the front door.

The pub requires a complete refit and has no power. Until this is resolved, no arrangements for reopening can be made.

Staff, many of whom are on zero hour contracts, have been allocated to other pubs or offered the option to take holiday.

Check out this story on the Whitby Gazette’s website to see a video of the storm surge, filmed by staff within the pub.

Weatherspoon's interior flooding

Weatherspoon's interior flooding

At Specsavers, over 500 pairs of glasses were lost due to the rising flood waters.

Computers and databases have been ruined, while the test rooms where eye appointments took place are contaminated and in need of complete refurbishment.

“The flood defences were in place but you can’t cater for a freak of nature,” said store director Dikki Finn. “Everything was strewn across the floor and everything that was below two feet was destroyed or contaminated.”

The store has reopened but is only able to complete repairs and collections as there are no electrical systems.

“We’re floating on the water without any paddles,” added Mr Finn.

Despite the devastation, Whitby’s branch of the Yorkshire Trading Society used items available within the store to partially seal the building. Supplies of cat litter were even used to absorb the water that did come into the shop.

Store manager Natalie Rideout-Fone said all the staff stayed until 8pm to help fight back the water and praised the commitment of her staff. She said: “When all the lights went out, we were sat in the stairs. Everything started creaking and I said ‘it’s like the Titanic’ and Becky joked ‘We work together, we die together’.”

The following day the store reopened at 9am, despite having no electricity, to allow residents in need of supplies to get what they needed.

Note on front of Oxfam shop, New Quay Road'picture: Brian Murfield

Note on front of Oxfam shop, New Quay Road'picture: Brian Murfield

Whitby Harbour office was left without power and with repair works ongoing, the office has been temporarily relocated to the councils’ depot on Cholmley Way. Harbour staff are on duty as normal and general enquiries can be made to (01723) 232563.

It was not just businesses that were affected, but charities also.

The Scope branch on Baxtergate lost a large amount of stock when the cellar flooded and Oxfam remains closed after the entire shop was heavily hit by the rising floodwater.

Whitby Disablement Action Group stores a large proportion of its fleet at the Tourist Information Centre and manager Nigel Staton said the charity has lost 70 per cent of its scooters and wheelchairs.

A short circuit caused by the rising tide caused a scooter to burst into flames.

Mr Staton said: “It’s a disaster. There must have been quite a lot of heat, a lot of the scooters have completely gone and the lighting has melted off the ceiling.”

With reduced demand throughout winter, Nigel hopes the charity will survive until replacements can be purchased ahead of the busy summer season.

“It’s awful, but no one has died, we have lost equipment but we can get that back,” added Mr Staton. “We will manage to get through it and hopefully we will learn from this.”