Scale of county flooding damage revealed

Flooded River Aire and Kirkstall Abbey at Bridge Road.  27 December 2015.  Picture Bruce Rollinson
Flooded River Aire and Kirkstall Abbey at Bridge Road. 27 December 2015. Picture Bruce Rollinson
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Flood-hit communities across the region have “not been forgotten”, a Government minister has pledged, as further details emerge of the scale of devastation across North Yorkshire.

Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said he was “driving progress” to enable communities to recover.

But, as the six-month anniversary of the Boxing Day floods approaches, progress will take time he said.

“The scenes were unprecedented – I saw the devastation,” he said. “But with flooding of that severity, it can take quite a long time for work to be completed.

“I am driving progress personally to make sure that things don’t fall between the cracks.

“It can’t be done overnight.”

The pledge comes as further details emerge of the scale of flood damage in the region – with the cost of remedial works now reaching £6m in North Yorkshire alone.

For the first time, detailed flood reports published by North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) show that more than 600 homes were hit in the county.

This included around 220 homes in the Harrogate district, 130 in Skipton and 28 in Hambleton. Selby saw a further 147 properties damaged, Ryedale 26, Scarborough 14 and Richmondshire nine.

Furthermore, the authority has revealed, more than 80 bridges and roads were damaged, with 200 county council staff called in from their Christmas holidays to help.

In the City of York many are still recovering, with one business – The Blue Bicycle on Fossgate – cancelling all bookings until Christmas.

“We are working tirelessly to reopen as soon as possible but due to both the extent of the damage and the number of our properties affected, the work will take some time yet to complete,” a notice on their website states.

But, says City of York Council, progress is being made.

Travellers have returned to plots on the James Street site and 47 council tenants who were affected returned to their homes in April.

“Council officers have worked tirelessly supporting tenants, residents and businesses who were affected by the floods,” said Coun Ian Gillies, executive member for transport and planning.

“They have been giving advice on grants, finding alternative accommodation, liaising with volunteer organisations and providing emotional support.

“To date over £289,166 of grant assistance has been allocated from the Flood Resilience Grant to 97 eligible residents and 174 businesses.”

Mr Clark, admitting that it may seem as though progress is slow, insists steps are being taken. He said: “We learned the lessons of previous occasions and put money in the hands of local councils immediately. We pulled out all the stops.

“Everyone recognises the necessary commitment. People in Yorkshire certainly haven’t been forgotten.”