‘On yer bike’: Hebden Bridge shop owner must move to make way for flood defences
A Hebden Bridge bike shop owner will be forced out of his premise to make way for flood defence development.
John Ainscough, owner of Blazing Saddles, said he has been told by the Environment Agency (EA) he will have to pack up his shop, on West End, and move for “important” engineering work to take place.
Mr Ainscough, who has been running his business on West End for 10 years, said his business has suffered three major floods since 2012, and that moving premises is the last thing he needs.
He said: “The [Storm Ciara] flood hasn’t been as damaging as the one in 2015, which I remember was apocalyptic.
“I’m aware engineering work to stop flooding for Hebden Bridge is to start this year, and I’ve been told by the EA I must move out of this shop because some of it needs to be knocked down to make room for the flood defences.”
The flood defence will run along the top of Rochdale Canal and Hebden Beck, which run behind Blazing Saddles, to reduce water from overflowing onto the town’s streets.
Mr Ainscough said he would like the government to look at putting the region as a Tier 1 priority for flood defences during the forth coming budget on March 11.
“It’s the last thing we need, but it's by no means the end for us,” said Mr Ainscough.
“For the next Budget meeting, Calderdale needs to prioritised because we’ve plenty of evidence to prove we need more protection.”
A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “The Environment Agency is working hard to design and deliver the Hebden Bridge flood alleviation scheme as quickly as possible while minimising the impact on the local community as works are carried out.
“We’re currently drawing up the construction programme, and we will be consulting businesses and property owners on timescales, building requirements, and options for mitigation when it has been drafted.
“We do understand that local business want as little disruption as possible so we’re working hard to explore options for minimising the impact of this important flood scheme.”