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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 August 2005, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
'Ghost town' fears over Boscastle
Boscastle
It is hoped people will see how the village is and come back and stay
The resort of Boscastle remains a "ghost town" at night, one year after it was deluged by floods, according to business leaders.

The Chamber of Commerce said the resort had seen day trippers returning but not enough were staying overnight.

But the owners of the Wellington Hotel in the Cornish village said although business is slightly down on last year, they are confident numbers will rise.

About 80% of the businesses are now back to normal.

The Wellington Hotel reopened in June and Paul and Rosie Roberts said they have been boosted by returning guests.

"People have just been really good", added Mrs Roberts.

"We've been supported by guests who've stayed here in previous years and many more who say they'll be back again.

"Once they've [people] seen the village it will give them the confidence to come back and stay here."

People are frightened it could happen again
Ron Muffett,
Boscastle Chamber of Commerce

Ron Muffett, from the Boscastle Chamber of Commerce, said: "Day-time businesses are doing well. The bed and breakfast side of the business is struggling.

"People are worried it could happen again. Day visitors are fine but after 9pm it's like a ghost town.

"Experts say there is a possibility it could happen once in every 400 years.

"The Environment Agency and the National Trust have done a lot of work on the river.

"We are quite pleased with the way things have gone and all the agencies working together.

"August has picked up well. We've had a lot of people come down with the curiosity factor but we feel this could be a one off year. We must work hard to ensure these people come back again."

Clear-up operations in Boscastle, Cornwall.
About 440m gallons of water tore through the village in 2004

Two gift shops and a youth hostel remain closed after the floods, but Clovelly Clothing reopened on Tuesday morning.

The shop had been in a 200-year-old building in the village for nine years when it was struck by last summer's flash flood, which led to about 100 residents being airlifted to safety from the raging torrent.

Owner Peter Dixon paid tribute to the work of North Cornwall District Council, saying it had been "very helpful".

Andrew Davey, area manager for the National Trust, which owns Boscastle Harbour, said there was "much to celebrate" in the way the village had bounced back from the flood.

But he warned: "Important decisions are still to be made on flood defence work and on additional facilities for the village.

"It is critical that we get these decisions right to enable Boscastle to accommodate serious flood events in the future."

At 1600 BST on Tuesday there was a service for villagers in Minster Church, which was flooded out last August and only reopened after restoration on Friday.

Cars swept away

Emergency services which dealt with the flood said it was a miracle no-one died or was seriously injured when the torrent of water ripped through Boscastle.

Millions of pounds of damage were caused as the waters inundated buildings, destroyed bridges and swept an estimated 116 cars into the harbour.

A study commissioned by the Environment Agency found it was worse than all previous known floods in the village - including those recorded in 1847, 1957, 1958 and 1963.

One former business which looks unlikely to reopen is the old Harbour restaurant and takeaway on the seafront.

The three-storey building suffered extensive damage in last year's floods and now the National Trust wants to use its ground floor as an information centre.

The previous centre, in the village car park, was also destroyed by the floods.

North Cornwall District Council is expected to approve the plans on Tuesday.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See Boscastle as it is now



FROM OTHER NEWS SITES:
TelegraphBoscastle smiles again - 16 hrs ago
Plymouth Evening Herald Service set to mark flooding - 30 hrs ago
Daily Mail Boscastle remembers devastating flood - 34 hrs ago
Western Morning News Villagers recall day of the flood - 55 hrs ago
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