Page last updated at 13:54 GMT, Saturday, 25 June 2005 14:54 UK

North Yorkshire 'open for trade'

Flood damage in Hawnby, near Helmsley
Roads were closed by the flood, but businesses remain open
In the wake of last week's flash flood in North Yorkshire, local businesses received a deluge of cancellations from customers concerned the area was unsafe or even unreachable.

Now, business owners and community leaders are trying to reassure the public that is it business as usual in most parts of Britain's largest county.

BARBARA ARMSTRONG, GOLDEN SQUARE CARAVAN PARK

Mrs Armstrong, who runs the park in Oswaldkirk on the North Yorkshire moors with her husband, said she had received more than 1,000 worth of cancellations - with some even calling off trips that were still months away.

They've been ringing up since Monday and all day Tuesday. One gentleman said he'd seen it on the television and he was cancelling and going elsewhere.

This was for August, not July.

DAVID SHIELDS, WORLD OF JAMES HERRIOT MUSEUM, THIRSK

Mr Shields said visitor numbers to the museum had fallen by 80% compared with the same time in 2004.

On the corresponding Monday last year we had 200 visitors at the centre, but this year we only had 40, so we've been vastly affected.

A lot of coach groups have been ringing up asking 'are we still open?' and 'can they still get here?', so there's been a lot of concern.

JOANNA ROYLE, YORKSHIRE TOURIST BOARD

Ms Royle said callers to the board had been asking about damage to areas nowhere near the affected towns.

We had calls coming into the office notifying us of cancellations taking place in Harrogate, which is 30 miles away.

We've had telephone calls asking if it's still possible to get through to York and even calls into caravan sites in Scarborough asking if they've been swept away.

SARAH WARD, RYEDALE DISTRICT COUNCIL

Ms Ward said media coverage of the floods were partly to blame.

Ryedale council worked flat out to help those people who were affected, but we need to get the message across that it wasn't as widespread as perhaps some media portrayed it.

TONY COWLEY, DELI OWNER, HELMSLEY

Mr Cowley said the situation was "back to normal" in Helmsley, which was one of the towns affected, after a difficult start to the week.

Things are definitely back to normal now, but at the beginning of the week it was hard. I got a phone call at Monday morning at six o'clock to say that Helmsley was virtually underwater.

A lot of the roads on the outskirts of Helmsley were closed but once you actually got into the square there was a lot of police and a lot of movement - but not many customers.

BEN NICHOLSON, BUTCHER, HELMSLEY

Mr Nicholson said business in the town had been hit, even in sections left relatively unscathed.

Yesterday's market day would normally be a busy day for us, but it was significantly quieter than normal. But the marketplace suffered very little, fortunately.




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