Tadcaster looks ahead to a brighter 2017

Residents look at the bridge in Tadcaster that is being repaired followng the floods last Christmas , and which cyclists in  next years Tour de Yorkshire will cross.
Residents look at the bridge in Tadcaster that is being repaired followng the floods last Christmas , and which cyclists in next years Tour de Yorkshire will cross.

It has been nearly a year since Tadcaster’s 18th century listed bridge collapsed in the wake of the Christmas flooding.

But some 12 months later the town torn in two is getting back on its feet; the bridge is set to re-open in the new year and just last week it was announced Tadcaster would host a stage start of the Tour de Yorkshire.

Residents are back in their homes, businesses and health centres have re-opened or fought to stay open and by their own admission the people have been ‘stoic’ throughout.

Tadcaster Medical Centre was devastated by the floods last year, with almost all of their resources and medicines destroyed, but throughout a stressful year there has still been some good.

Practice Manager, Sarah Botherway said: “The people of Tadcaster have been really stoic everybody understood the flood was out of anyone’s control and people have just got on.

“Patients have walked across the footbridge to the surgery who previously couldn’t have walked that, because they have had to so there have been some fantastic stories.”

While Tadcaster Health Centre has only just been able to re-open recently as a result of flood damage, the medical centre did not have the choice to shut its doors.

Mrs Botherway said: “We couldn’t shut we were the only surgery in Tadcaster. It’s been a really difficult year and the biggest thing for us is that our insurance has refused to cover us for floods going forward.

“The doctors will just have to find this money, it won’t impact on referring and prescribing.

“Although we’re NHS, we are like small businesses contracted to the NHS, this is a practice of doctors and they have a responsibility to provide facilities in order to deliver a service.”

Now the practice faces an insurance cover bill in tens of thousands of pounds, but financial worries aside Mrs Botherway said 2017 has got to be Tadcaster’s years.

She said: “For everyone in Tadcaster it’s been a really odd year, the bridge is due to be open at the end of January so that will be fantastic if that happens but everyone is waiting with baited breath.

“We know whatever happens it will be open for the Tour de Yorkshire. It will be great for the town, it’s so quiet at the minute, you go to the supermarket and you don’t have to queue.

“2017 has got to be a lot better for the people here.”

At the start of the year, Tadcaster’s quiet streets could be partly attributed to the fact that there were less residents as well as visitors, as many flood victims were forced to leave their homes.

One such resident, John Horton, explained he and his wife had to stay in a hotel and then in rented accommodation for months, after their apartment on Church Yard was submerged.

Mr Horton said: “It was about four foot deep in our property. We are in an apartment with a ground floor and first floor, it was just below the worktops so the whole of the ground floor was flooded.

“The kitchen had to be completely replaced. I understand from the insurance company it cost about £44,000.

“We had to have all the wooden flooring replaced, the kitchen tiles never shifted but all the plaster had to be taken off the walls all the kitchen units replaced and all the appliances.”

But much like the medical centre, the problem Mr Horton now faces is whether he can find an insurance company to cover his property for flood damage.

He said: “The insurance company did very well they were very cooperative, the only problem is now they won’t insure us against floods again at all.

“We are the only ones who have not been able to get flood cover, I have spent days over the last week or two speaking to brokers by phone and email it’s a nightmare

“We have been back in for some time and it’s all very nice in here now but it just means from now on we’re not covered.

“If we can’t get some cover at some stage it’s going to affect the value of the property and the likelihood of being able to sell it if we wish to do so.”

But despite the difficulties, Mr Horton said that through all the chaos, it was Tadcaster people who really pulled together to help each other.

He said: “In the first two or three days it was fairly chaotic but we were lucky because we had our family here to help us clear out. We had a huge amount of help from people in Tadcaster too it was unbelievable.

“We have just got to get on with it, my wife and I are in our 70’s so it has been a bit stressful but we have coped with a lot of help from friends and support, it could have been a lot worse but I wouldn’t want it to happen again.”

Now residents have called for better flood defences to ensure that the Christmas disaster cannot be repeated.

Mr Horton said: “The environment agency needs to do something for Tadcaster when you read that millions or even billions being allocated for flood defences in London and then Yorkshire is due to get £440 million and I have not heard anything about Tadcaster. It’s not just York there’s a lot of other places as well and Tadcaster has been badly affected.”

But above all, the people of Tadcaster want the bridge back in action.

Fellow resident and staff member at Tadcaster Grammar School, Wendy Binns, said: “There’s some fantastic community spirit still in the town it’s been a year and although the year has gone quickly it’s been tough, especially for someone like me who has to travel to work, it’s not been easy for anyone.

“Even if you haven’t been flooded I don’t think there will be one person who hasn’t been affected by that bridge collapsing so that’s all we want for the new year is to get that up and running.”