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PM sees first-hand the struggle facing flood-hit businesses

Malvern Editorial 19th Feb, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

DAVID Cameron was in Upton-upon Severn this week to show support to traders after the main road into the town was closed due to flooding.

The Prime Minister was greeted by the Royal Irish Regiment who have been ferrying visitors into the town to ensure it keeps trading in the face of the restricted access.

Mr Cameron was joined by West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin and Dafydd Evans, director of the Environment Agency, as he spoke traders and residents on Monday (February 17).

The Prime Minister has announced a £10 million fund to help small businesses recover from the effect of flooding on local economies.

Mrs Baldwin said she was delighted to welcome Mr Cameron to Upton and listen to his reassurances to protect such town’s from future problems.

She also commended the efforts of the army and reiterated the clear message to people was that the town was very much open for business.

Most residents in Malvern managed to avoid water entering their homes however eight properties in Callow End did flood.

Tom Wells, county and district councillor for Powick, said an Environment Agency flood defence project worth £600,000 in the wake of the 2007 floods had worked.

He said: “The project has been a success story. There were more than 30 houses flooded in 2007. It has been significantly less this year.

“A number of properties came very close, but the fact we could create sandbags and access pumps made the difference.

“An inch of rain may have seen another dozen houses flooded. The defences held firm but they were really tested to their limit.”

The major disruption in Malvern has been to motorists travelling between the town and Worcester due to the closure of the bridge in the city centre pushing traffic onto the surrounding roads.

Some drivers have seen delays of up to 90 minutes on the A4449, and many travelling to the town from the M5 have taken extreme detours avoiding the typical route via Junction 7 and coming into Malvern via the M50 and Ledbury.

Coun Wells added: “Powick has been in a constant state of gridlock for pretty much all of last week.

“Drivers have been pulling off the A4449 getting out their maps and seeking rat runs to get them further down the road. The village is not really equipped to deal with those volumes of traffic. It has been virtually impassable.”

A spokesman from Worcestershire County Council, which manages highways in the county, said matrix signs on key routes had been updated regularly to keep motorists informed.

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