Ballymacash businesses up in arms over flooding

Claire Oates and Mark McGarry outside their business premises at Ballymacash. INUS0713-FLOODS1
Claire Oates and Mark McGarry outside their business premises at Ballymacash. INUS0713-FLOODS1

THE OWNERS of a number of businesses in Ballymacash are up-in-arms after the outside of their premises have been flooded yet again.

The owners of the Cod Father and Windmill Stores opened up their premises to find the front had been flooded on Wednesday morning.

Mark Megarry, owner of the Cod Father said the flooding issue has been a constant problem for the past three years.

“I have come into the premises this morning and the water is just an inch from the door,” he said.

“We rang the DRD to get the drains cleared but this is an ongoing problem. There is so much water that no-one can get in the shop.

“We had this problem last June but then everywhere was the same but there was not that much rainfall on Tuesday night so why are these businesses being flooded yet again?

“We are always affected when it rains. When it rains we have to put sand bags and boards down just so customers can get in.

“If I close then it is half a days trade that I lose. This happened three years ago and the whole inside of the shop was completely destroyed, the floors lifted and the walls had to be replastered. It cost around £20,000 to refurbish. Now the insurance company do not want to know because this flooding is happening time and time again.

“It really is a headache. All the rain water comes down the Nettlehill Road and it seems to come to a point and there seems to be a blockage of some kind. We have been assured that the storm drains have been cleared. “

Claire Oates of Windmill Stores, says that she is at the end of her tether over the flooding issue.

“At the moment the customers cannot get into the store because of the flooding outside,” she said.

“Every time it rains this happens. We are still open but if anyone was to walk past and see that level of flooding they will just walk past - I would - I would not want to get my feet wet, We have been told that we are on the urgent list to get it cleared but who knows. This happens they come out and they do reports and check this and that and nothing is ever done.

“Thankfully we have tiled floors otherwise there would be widespread damage. We are just fed up with this It looks like agencies just do not want to do anything. We are just fed up.”

A spokesperson for the DRD said: “A complaint was received this morning of flooding at the shops on Ballymacash Road. A mechanical gully emptier was dispatched straight away. The gullies were cleaned, jetted and flood removed. Roads Service will carry out a full drainage investigation in due course.”

A spokesperson for NI Water issued a statement: “On average each year, NI Water staff deal with around 26,000 blockages to the sewerage network and it is estimated that of these 70% are caused by inappropriate items being put into the system. The most common inappropriate items flushed down the sewer are baby wipes, sanitary items and cotton buds.

“This not only leads to considerable unnecessary costs being incurred (some £1.6m annually purely to remove these blockages); it also has a devastating impact on those householders and business people who find their properties flooded as a result of such blockages.”