INDEPENDENT businesses in Worcester city centre are urging customers to visit them despite the flooding in the surrounding area.

Flooding has hit businesses across the city in the past fortnight, with pubs and hotels such as the Old Rectifying House and Severn View Hotel by the river having to close.

With many of the city’s car parks also flooded, and roads blocked, businesses in the centre have seen a severe downturn in trade despite remaining open.

Sue Bishop, who runs Swan Boutique in Friar Street, told the Worcester News yesterday: “It has been like a ghost town here today and yesterday, it is disappointing but we just have to push on. I want people to know that we are still here and people can still pop in and shop. The floods have affected everyone but we are staying positive. I am hoping it will pick up at the weekend.”

Over at Coffee Dough in the Crowngate shopping centre, staff are also feeling the effect of the flooding. Maria Lewis, 26, said: “It has been really quiet – we have a few customers over lunch time but it is nowhere near as busy as it usually is.

Stourbridge News:

“It is a little bit of a shame especially as this is only the second month we have been here since we reopened, but it is nice to see customers still coming in and having a coffee and a cake to relax and shelter from the weather. We have become something of a safe haven.”

Elsewhere in Crowngate, Flowers of Worcester said the closures of the car parks and roads had harmed business. Member of staff Angela Aston said: “The floods are having a huge impact. I would say the amount of customers we had yesterday was down by 70 percent at least, and today is even worse.

Stourbridge News:

“The fact that the weather is only set to get worse is soul destroying, to be honest. The road closures are hindering us. We can’t do deliveries. Getting to St John’s and back takes two hours.”

Anja Potze, owner of Anja Potze Fine Jewellery in Friar Street, said: “We want to let people know that as long as it is safe for them to get here, Worcester city is still very much open.”

Stourbridge News:

Tim Evans, of Toys and Games of Worcester, added: “We are fortunate enough to have a really loyal customer base – they come in whatever the weather. We have noticed it is quieter than usual, but we are not suffering. We feel for those who are affected.

Stourbridge News:

“The closure of the nearby car parks has hurt us a little but the shuttle bus has been great and directs people past us so that is a bonus.”

Alice Ingleby-Faulkner, of Ganesha Handicrafts, said: “It would be nice to have more customers, but it is completely understandable people don’t want to venture out and about – the floods have been horrendous."

Stourbridge News:

A Worcester City Council spokesman said: “Worcester is very much open for business. Car parks to the east of the city centre are fully open and we encourage people to make the most of local train services, as Foregate Street station is only a few minutes’ walk away from the High Street and a wide selection of shops and restaurants.

"Worcester Bridge has also now re-opened, which will have an immediate positive impact on city centre businesses.

"Recovery grants of up to £2,500 and resilience grants of up to £5,000 are available to help businesses which have been affected. Full details on how to apply can be found at worcester.gov.uk.”