A CITY golf range owner, who has been forced to close his business for several weeks after severe flooding, is looking to finally reopen this weekend after he was given a helping hand by the council.

Gary Kibblewhite, who owns Worcester Golf Range, has praised Worcester City Council for making a “massive difference” after his driving range in Weir Lane in Lower Wick was vanquished by 8ft of floodwater.

The driving range has been closed for almost three months on-and-off since flooding in October last year. Mr Kibblewhite has remained hopeful that golfers will again be teeing off as soon as this weekend but is very much bound by water levels dropping on the floodplain next to the River Severn where the driving range sits.

“The flooding over the Christmas period was the worst we have had for 30 years,” he said. “There are 13 acres here and 12 of those have been covered with 8ft of water. Consequently, we have been closed for four weeks now but hopefully we will be open by the weekend.

The city council has offered grants of up to £2,500 to 50 small businesses severely hit by recent floods but so far only 17 businesses have applied for the money.

The council has said it is keen to make more businesses aware that the grants are still available.

The money from the council has proved a bit of a lifeline for Mr Kibblewhite and his golf range after he was left in the cold by his bank, and he praised the council for providing a simple way to apply.

“Because we have been closed completely there has been no money coming in, but everything is still going out,” he said.

“There are still a lot of costs going out, bills and wages to pay and there’s insurance that also needs paying.

“I spoke to the bank and they were absolutely no help whatsoever. They wouldn’t suspend loan repayments or offer us a repayment holiday. They couldn’t do anything for us.

“The money from the council grant system was very quick and easy and was all done online. It was very simple and we had the money within 10 days.

“It helped with the day-today running costs, insurance and business rates as well as wages.” Shane Flynn, director of finance and resources at Worcester City Council, encouraged businesses affected by the flooding to apply for help from the authority.

“Financial support is available to assist Worcester residents and businesses which have been directly affected by the recent floods,” he said.

"We appreciate what a difficult time it is for those individuals, and are working hard to process all the applications we receive as quickly as possible.

“As well as flood recovery grants, if you’ve been directly affected you may also be entitled to council tax and business rate relief.

“Full details on how to apply are available at www. worcester.gov.uk/flooding.”