Worcester, situated along the River Severn, faces common flooding due to heavy rains, impacting infrastructure, homes, and businesses alike. The highest recorded flood level at the Worcester measuring station occurred on 26 February 2020, with recent bouts of flooding in January and February causing disruption and damage to local businesses, green spaces, and walkways. Community support is crucial in aiding these resilient businesses to bounce back.

At Worcester BID, we have spoken to some of our local BID businesses that are located on the riverside and are thus often disturbed by flooding.

The effect on businesses can be extensive. Julia Seymour, Director of Diglis House Hotel, said “At the inception of my investment in Diglis House Hotel, the advice concerning flooding at that time, was to expect flooding every 40-50 years. Today flooding is common news.” General Manager of Diglis House Hotel, Debra Jones, added that “the flooding brings disruption to our business from loss of revenue due to access issues, internal flooding, the cost of pump systems as well as clean up to the grounds, the hotel in general and the bedrooms. These must be properly sanitised by special companies each time flooding occurs.”

So, how can we as a community help these resilient businesses to bounce back?

Richard Hill, Manager of Browns at the Quay said Dealing with the flooding has been an ever-increasing challenge to the business.

One of the main challenges is trying to get across to the public that when we close due to high river levels, we will bounce back very quickly, often in just a couple of days.

There is a perception that once you are affected by flooding you will be closed for many months, whereas we have shown this does not need to be the case. With the correct flood barriers, pumping systems and resilience work it can be managed, preventing serious damage to the building and its interior, enabling us to re-open very quickly and move on with the business.

We think that Worcester as a community has been supportive and hope it continues to be so. Our customers are very understanding when we have to reluctantly close for a period of time. We like to welcome new customers as well as old ones and hope they think of us when deciding where to go after flooding has happened.”

Whilst Worcester has weathered many floods throughout its history, its businesses demonstrate resilience and adaptability, constantly evolving to withstand environmental challenges. It’s crucial to support local businesses by visiting your riverside venues that are open for business, aiding them in minimising the disruptions brought about by flooding incidents.