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Haverhill businesses continue to try and cope with the aftermath of flashfloods




A town centre building society remains closed days after torrential rain caused flooding in Haverhill.

The deluge of rain that arrived at around teatime, and continued into the evening, left some of the town’s streets, in particular Ehringshausen Way and Burton End, resembling a river.

Between 4.30pm and 5.30pm, 24mm of rain fell in Haverhill, according to Mel Brown, who keeps rainfall records for the town. The average rainfall for July is about 50mm, he added.

A motorcyclist negotiates the floodwater at Burton End, Haverhill, on Sunday. Picture by Aaron Luccarini
A motorcyclist negotiates the floodwater at Burton End, Haverhill, on Sunday. Picture by Aaron Luccarini

Burton End was turned into a watercourse after a flood pond next to Anglian Place overflowed.

Fast moving flood water was left in Anglian Place’s courtyard and had impacted ground floor flats, according to Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, which attended numerous flooding incidents in the Haverhill area on Sunday, and a cordon was put in place while firefighters dug channels to divert the water.

On Monday morning High Street shops Poundland and Hughes, together with the Queen Street branch of Saffron Building Society, were unable to open as staff were left to mop up water that had got into the buildings.

Branch manager Sam Potter and sales advisor Hinn Lau cleaning up after the flooding at Hughes in Haverhill High Street. Picture by Mark Westley
Branch manager Sam Potter and sales advisor Hinn Lau cleaning up after the flooding at Hughes in Haverhill High Street. Picture by Mark Westley

Although both Hughes and Poundland had reopened by Tuesday, Saffron Building Society’s branch remains closed today due to the water damage.

Ian Friend, branch manager of the building society, said: “Our branch, alongside other buildings in the area, suffered quite badly in the recent flash flooding in Haverhill and is temporarily closed.

“All our members are welcome to use any of our other branches, where our teams have been relocated to support them for the short term.

“Upon initial inspection, the damage is significant, but we hope to get the branch open as soon as it is safe and feasible to do so.

Primrose Mini Market manager Narendra Bandi, with some of the damaged stock remaining in the cellar after it flooded. Picture by Mark Westley
Primrose Mini Market manager Narendra Bandi, with some of the damaged stock remaining in the cellar after it flooded. Picture by Mark Westley

“We will keep all members updated on progress as and when we know more.”

The owners of Primrose Mini Market, on the corner of Burton End and Primrose Hill, have been left thousands of pounds out of pocket because of flood damage.

Saffron Building Society in Haverhill, which flooded at the weekend. Picture by Mecha Morton
Saffron Building Society in Haverhill, which flooded at the weekend. Picture by Mecha Morton

The store’s manager, Narendra Bandi, said the water was initially so deep that the bottom four stairs down to the cellar were underwater.

He said: “Up until six o’clock the water was still coming in while we were pumping it out.”

It took more than ten hours, said Narendra, to clear all the water from the cellar, using a water pump that had to be plugged into a power source upstairs because the electricity in the cellar had to be disconnected by an electrician.

Water pours out on to Burton End from the overwhelmed flood pond. Picture by Aaron Luccarini
Water pours out on to Burton End from the overwhelmed flood pond. Picture by Aaron Luccarini

Sivasubramaniam Balamurugah, whose wife Sasitha owns the business, said ‘roughly £5,000 to £6,000 of stuff has been put in the bins’ because of the flood damage.

Not just stock, he explained, but also a printer, two back office computers and other office equipment had been ruined by the flood.

Mr Balamurugah explained that water had run from all the gardens of the houses in Primrose Hill, down the slope to a shingled area of garden in the house that adjoins his property before crashing down into the cellar.

He said: “We have had the place 15 years and I think this is the worst one (flood) yet.”

Sam Potter, the branch manager at Hughes, said: “We are prone to the odd flood here. But not as dramatic as this one was on Sunday.

“We’ve only had it this bad once in the last 20 years or so. This is the first time in a decade that it actually flooded the shop floor.”

Heavy rainfall will flow from the public car park at the back of Hughes and Poundland, explained Sam, and collect in a basin close to the shops’ rear access, but with the drains partially blocked it fails to drain away.

The water will then overflow and get into the shops underneath the back doors - unless sandbags are put in place.

But because Hughes was closed on Sunday and the rain was unexpectedly heavy, sandbags had not been put in place.

Staff were in Hughes on Monday, said Sam, clearing up the water and assessing what damage had been caused.

Two fire crews spent two hours at The Swallows Residential Care Home in Helions Bumpstead Road at 9.48pm on Sunday after water entered the building.

They used submersive pumps to remove the water from the property before handing the incident back to the residential home.