Flooded-out garage owner in dispute over protection

Photo Neil Cross'Mark Fishwick at Penwortham MOT Service & Repair Centre, 12 months after the floods that nearly put them out of business

Photo Neil Cross'Mark Fishwick at Penwortham MOT Service & Repair Centre, 12 months after the floods that nearly put them out of business

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A row has broken out over a garage owners request to protect his business from flooding.

Last December, the River Ribble broke its banks and Penwortham MOT Centre in Leyland Road was flooded. Damage cost in excess of £100,000 and owner Mark Fishwick was unable to reopen for five-and-a-half months.

Photo Neil Cross'Mark Fishwick at Penwortham MOT Service & Repair Centre, 12 months after the floods that nearly put them out of business

Photo Neil Cross'Mark Fishwick at Penwortham MOT Service & Repair Centre, 12 months after the floods that nearly put them out of business

Nearly a year on, he has criticised the authorities for failing to install what he believes are suitable flood defences.

After claiming a new flood defence wall would not be feasable, the Environment Agency has instead offered up to £5,000 to affected parties under its Repair and Renew Grant (RRG), to be distributed by South Ribble Council.

Under the scheme, Mr Fishwick asked for a reinforced roller door to be installed, but has been refused because the Environment Agency said it does not meet strict criteria.

Mr Fishwick said: “Instead they want me to waste tax payers money installing barriers on doors and putting out aqua sacks that won’t be as good.

“Also I’d have to move them into place every time I get a flood warning. Most of the warnings I get are in the middle of the night, so it’s not common sense. The door I want would protect my business 24/7.”

He added: “South Ribble are sat on all of this money while we’re under threat of it all happening again.”

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “A recognised flood barrier can attract RRG funding and a roller door can’t. This is because the roller door quote that he has received is ‘weather proof’ but not BSI kite-marked, so it may be designed to withstand heavy rain but it has not been tested against standing flood water.

“He can also potentially receive funding towards resilience measures within his property such as facilities to raise key electrical equipment up from the floor and away from possible flood damage.”

He advised Mr Fishwick to sign up to early flood alerts and said officers will continue to work with him.

South Ribble Coun Phil Smith, said a lot of work had been done over the past year to help secure the grant money.

He said: “We are ready to do this as soon as Mr Fishwick agrees with the Environment Agency what type of work will be carried out.”