Business breakfasters planning for the long term

Fiona Thurlbeck speaks at the breakfast meeting. Picture: Jade Smith
Fiona Thurlbeck speaks at the breakfast meeting. Picture: Jade Smith

Future plans for the resurrection of businesses in Mytholmroyd were the prime topic of conversation at the first Royd Regeneration Business Breakfast of 2016 and the first following the severe flooding of Boxing Day.

More than one hundred people shared their early morning coffee in the Ted Hughes Theatre, Calder High School, one of the few key buildings left in the village.

The event was opened by Stephen Curry the chair of the UCVR which aims to put in some strategic thinking for the long term business resilience in the face of what all know is not a once in lifetime flood.

Of those flooded, 51 per cent are unable to get insurance including Simon Waring from Ryburne Brokers, who spoke about Flood Re, which comes on stream in April 2016.

Unfortunately the scheme offers no comfort to small businesses as they are exempt as are properties built prior to 2009. Simon is keen to look into setting up a local community insurance scheme perhaps in conjunction with flood affected areas such as Cumbria and the Somerset levels, to offer local SME’s some semblance of cover.

Fiona Thurlbeck, head of business and skills at Calderdale Council reported that 609 businesses across every sector, including tourism, retail, care, engineering and manufacturing are all badly affected. Seventeen businesses have had to be permanently relocated.

Significantly it is the diversity of trade within the Calder Valley which has sustained it through the economic down turn and so it is important that the £15million of losses with five thousand people losing their jobs or being laid off is dealt with as soon as possible.

Fiona stated that of the 609 businesses that have flooded less than half have claimed the easiest £2,500 they could ever access.

There is also a grant for flood resilience of £5,000 which can be accessed by landlords who wish to protect their assets from further flood damage.

All forms for the initial grants can be obtained at the Flood Hubs or by ringing 01422 392222.

Whilst it might be the last thing on a business owner’s mind at the time of a flood, keeping an eye on legal matters is important to keep solvent.

Mark Warren, from Chadwick Lawrence solicitors, Leeds, asked traders to make sure that they know exactly what they are responsible for, and to check the clauses about the suspension of rent.

Finally, Helen Batt, Senior Investment Advisor from the Environment Agency told the meeting that there have been large investments in flood defence schemes in west Yorkshire as well as 180 repairs to river walls.

There are on-going feasibility studies for further defence work - however there is a substantial gap in funding.

Looking ahead, the next business breakfast will take place on Tuesday, March 8, at 8am at Calder High School, Mytholmroyd.

lGuest speakers will include Mr Anthony Guise the head teacher. For more information, email business@discovermytholmroyd.info