Washout: Sheffield’s Wicker businesses fear repeat of floods

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BUSINESSES in part of Sheffield badly affected by 2007’s devastating floods were bracing themselves again yesterday.

Retailers along The Wicker lost thousands of pounds’ worth of stock five years ago, and many had staff rescued by boat.

Ellie Bennett, aged 40, from the Wicker Pharmacy and Mobility Shop, said yesterday: “We’ve been checking on the river and we’ve all got our fingers crossed we won’t see a repeat.

“The floods in 2007 were devastating to us. It caused about £500,000 damage. We’ve only just recovered.”

Eleven staff were forced to take refuge on the store’s upper floor for over six hours before being rescued by firemen in boats.

“It was terrifying because we knew the drains were open yet we could see people trying to cross the road,” she said.

“We back were in the next day at 6am. It’s a pharmacy - we can’t just close, people need it. But many shops on the street didn’t have insurance and simply never opened again.”

PJ Sisman Electrical, on the Wicker for 47 years, lost £15,000 of stock in 2007 after its cellar was submerged in 10ft of floodwater.

Adam Sisman, 37, was working in the shop his father runs the day it flooded.

He said: “If it was to happen again there’s not really much we can do. We actually saw the water moving towards us along Stanley Street. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Across the road, Space Centre bookshop lost a cellar full of stock.

Jim Wilkinson, 56, said: “We had to throw away everything from the cellar and the bottom shelves of the store. There was some hard-to-find stuff - nice comics, paperbacks. It was a real shame.”

Sharon Hastings, 53, was rescued from her First Choice hair salon by a forklift truck during the 2007 floods. “I saw fridges, skips and cars floating past,” she said.

And Marcia’s takeaway owner Marcia Campbell, 54, thinks the floods took a huge toll on the area.

“I was completely flooded and didn’t open again for four months,” she said. “I’ve got some sandbags now and you prepare as well as you can – but if it happened again, what can anybody really do?”