Devastation at Waterside Garden Centre in Baston after flooding from River Glen following Storm Henk downpours
The owner of a garden centre ‘wiped out’ by Storm Henk says flooding has caused six figures worth of damage.
Waterside Garden Centre in Baston was among the businesses badly hit by the flooding last week.
Following a day of heavy rainfall on Tuesday (January 2), owner Andy Parrott stationed himself outside the garden centre on a JCB during the early hours of the next morning, to try to protect his business from the encroaching flood water.
But by sunrise it was no use as water was seeping into the building.
Andy said: “When people think of floods they think of torrential storms and the power of water.
“It was slowly rising but it just didn’t stop.
“It wasn’t as if we had been washed away but it was relentlessly coming up a little bit more.
“We realised there was nothing we could do.”
Inside, the water - which in some rooms was 5ft deep - swept away displays, ruining stock in the process.
Andy said: “The devastation is horrendous.
“It’s a wipe out - we have no stock left.”
Andy estimates the damage - which should be covered by insurance - runs into six figures and means the garden centre won’t reopen until March.
The team is currently working to pump out water, clear the damaged stock and get power back to the building.
Despite having a long to-do list to get the garden centre back open, staff are making sure to recycle where possible, including emptying the plants out of their tubs so they can be reused.
Katie Smith, head of marketing at Waterside Garden Centre, has been keeping customers updated on the clear up with posts on social media.
With phone lines down following the flooding, the e-mail and Facebook inboxes have been inundated with messages of support and offers of help.
Katie said: “It has been incredible.
“It is really nice to know we have so many people behind us.
“It has been difficult to read all the messages because there have been hundreds.”
Although seeing the positive power of social media, Andy was left disappointed after a rumour began circulating on Facebook that the garden centre had been looted.
He branded the rumours as ‘insensitive, incredibly unhelpful and dangerous’ to the team working on-site.
He added that a 24-hour security team is at the site so if thieves did try they would have a ‘shock’.
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In his 34 years since founding the business, Andy has never seen water levels so high and was left frustrated after not receiving a flood warning or any guidance from the Environment Agency.
He said: "Their communication skills are non-existent.
"If I was to rate them from 0 to 10 I don't think I would even give them a 0.”
He added that Waterside Garden Centre hires 100 people and stocks products from local businesses so flooding could have a big knock on effect.
A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: “Environment Agency Officers have been on the ground this week to reduce flood risk to communities by operating flood defences and clearing watercourses.
“We believe the cause of flooding in the Baston and Greatford area was due to high amounts of rainfall falling on saturated catchments.
“While we operated our sluices to divert excess water away from the River Glen which helped to reduce overall levels, unfortunately this did not stop flooding of properties from the River Glen in Baston and Greatford as the river reached its highest ever recorded levels in response to Storm Henk.”
They added that flood alerts were issued.