Page last updated at 11:51 GMT, Thursday, 23 June 2005 12:51 UK

Flood-hit area open for business

People wading through floodwaters in Helmsley
Many residents in Helmsley spent the night in the town hall

Tourists are being urged to continue with their holiday plans in North Yorkshire despite the county being affected by flash floods.

On Sunday, a month's rain fell within the space of a few hours causing widespread flooding in the Helmsley, Hawnby and Selby areas.

Business owners fear some may have to close if visitors avoid the area.

"We are open and we want to do business," said Chris Parkin, from the Carlton Lodge Hotel in Helmsley.

We need visitors to come otherwise our businesses will die. We are open, Yorkshire is open for business
Hotel owner Chris Parkin

"We have already had a number of calls from anxious people but we have managed to convert most of our premises so people can still come.

"We had the flash floods, but they went as quickly as they came and to be honest you wouldn't know we'd had a flood if it wasn't for some skips which will go in a day or two."

Mr Parkin believes the publicity surrounding the floods may have driven a large number of tourists away, but says business owners agree that things should get back to normal.

"We need visitors to come otherwise our businesses will die. We are open, Yorkshire is open for business."

The tourism industry is thought to be worth nearly 2bn to the county.

Floods in Helmsley, North Yorkshire
The storms struck suddenly on Sunday evening

A spokesman for the Yorkshire Tourist Board said only a small area of the vast county has been affected.

"There have been some temporary closures, however diversions are in place, re-routing traffic around the affected area of Hawnby.

"All other areas have now been re-opened.

"Visitors to East, West and South Yorkshire, the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and the vast majority of North Yorkshire will not suffer any inconvenience.

"It would be a dreadful shame if visitors shunned Yorkshire for no reason."

Meanwhile, surveys into the damage caused by the flood are being carried out by the North York Moors National Park.

Officers are preparing to replace at least 30 footbridges and clear debris from paths.

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See the clear-up operation

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