Somerset floods: Pubs say 'we're open for business' as trade drops off

This is The West Country: Phil and Ann Basford, which has remained open despite being surrounded by flood water. Phil and Ann Basford, which has remained open despite being surrounded by flood water.

STRUGGLING pubs fighting a desperate battle to persuade people that not all of Somerset is underwater insist: “We’re open for business.”

Trade has been drastically hit at many businesses in and around the flooded areas, with some pubs reporting a loss of 75% compared to this time last year.

The majority of places are still open despite the horrendous flooding but bosses say many people presume they are shut or cannot reach them.

Ann Basford, landlady at the Rose and Crown, at East Lyng, said: “We’ve been open all the time but we are just surrounded by water so the only way you can get here is from the A38 on to the A361 from the Taunton direction.

“Around 50% of our trade is passing so we have lost that but the locals have rallied around and shown great support.”

The pub’s namesake – the Rose and Crown, at Stoke St Gregory – is also struggling.

Landlady Leonie Browning said: “It’s a case of survive at the moment; the past two months have been the worst on record for us.

“Day-to-day running has been a case of not knowing if your staff, customers and deliveries can get to you, which is very stressful.”

Jollies @ The Canal, in Wrantage, has been flooded on and off since the floods of November 2012 and this year lost its second Christmas and New Year trading period.

Emma Purvis said: “We have had to close on four separate occasions, which has been devastating.

“The business is being run by two guys in their early 20s who are incredibly talented chefs; they just need people to know they are open for business.

“We are a destination pub as we are situated in a small hamlet and rely heavily on word-of-mouth business.”

Ros Davis, of the Bird in Hand at North Curry, said: “We are very much open for business and we’d like to thank our customers who have remained loyal during this difficult period of flooding.”

Cllr Mark Edwards, deputy leader of Taunton Deane, went on a tour of some of the hard-up pubs with Gill Slattery, district councillor for Stoke St Gregory.

Cllr Edwards said: “A number of businesses are really suffering, in particular many of the public houses in the locality who are accessible but have lost all their visitors, so one way of helping could be to visit one of these businesses.”

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