Action call after Blackburn firms flood again

Blackburn Citizen: Workers clear up after the flood in Alfa Garage Workers clear up after the flood in Alfa Garage

BUSINESS bosses have called for urgent action by United Utilities after they suffered their fourth flood in two months.

Owners in Dickens Street, Blackburn, are increasingly concerned for their firms’ futures after being repeatedly struck down with water and delays in receiving compensation for lost trade.

They are being backed by Blackburn MP Jack Straw over their complaints.

On Monday, the bosses were once again mopping up and took their anger to a confrontation with United Utilities managers.

Mr Straw’s constituency secretary Damian Talbot who chaired the meeting said: “This cannot go on. Jack will be at the next meeting in January.”

John Martin, external affairs manager at United Utilities, promised work to prevent future flooding would be completed by Christmas Eve.

The firm has started a compensation process for companies affected by the flooding and closure, based on loss of gross profits.

Ali Ansar, of A and J Cash and Carry in Dickens Street, said: “We just cannot go on with flooding like this. If United Utilities don’t sort this, some firms are going to go under. We have not just lost trade but potential future custom.”

Seid Mohammed, of Alfa Garage, Dickens Street Mill, said: “This has to stop. It is damaging my business and neighbouring businesses.”

Sadiq Lunat, of neighbouring B and L Kitchens, said: “This is the fourth flood in a few weeks. This just cannot continue.” Management consultant Danny Gordon, handling compensation claims for local firms, said: “United Utilities have made the process very difficult. They need to speed things up.”

Mr Martin said: “Unfortunately, a number of businesses did experience some flooding on Sunday evening and we continue to work with them so they can operate as normal.

“We’re very sorry for the disruption we have caused the businesses and families who operate and live in the Dickens Street area, during our on-going work to repair a collapsed sewer. Our aim is to have the sewer running back to normal and Dickens Street fully open by Christmas Eve.”

He said they may need to return for a week in January for further work.

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