Flooded village pub in case study for PM

JPCT 070114 S14021085x Pulborough floods, White Hart pub Stopham Bridge,  owner Chris Sinfield -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT 070114 S14021085x Pulborough floods, White Hart pub Stopham Bridge, owner Chris Sinfield -photo by Steve Cobb

A Pulborough pub closed due to severe flooding since Christmas time has been used in a case study for 10 Downing Street.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has worked closely with the proprietor of the White Hart at Stopham Bridge in Pulborough, Chris Sinfold, as part of a UK-wide case study for David Cameron.

The project looks into small and independent businesses affected by the recent bouts of flooding and the lack of support from insurers.

“I have been trying to get help from local authorities, Horsham District Council, West Sussex County Council and the insurance companies,” said the 43-year-old.

“It seems because we’re just one property on its own that it’s not their priority.”

Mr Sinfold claimed that his insurance broker Gallagher Heath and contents insurer The New India Assurance Company have been taking a long time to help resolve the issue and bring the pub back to life.

“We were flooded on Christmas Eve and it’s taken a month just to get the right drying equipment. Each week that goes by is another that we’re not trading.”

As businesses across the country try to recover, new data released by the FSB reveals small firms in affected areas lost more than three quarters of a billion pounds.

Development Manager of FSB, Ray Abrahams, said: “In the past few weeks we have heard countless stories from our members who were left devastated by some of the worst flooding on record.

“We want the Government and the insurance industry to look again at the support they have in place for small businesses in flood hit areas.”

The flooding at the White Hart has led to £10,000 of damage as well as loss of business and staff.

“It’s hard to know exactly how much money we’ve lost in total, but with missing the whole Christmas week, which we were fully booked for, New Year’s Eve and now Valentine’s Day it’s going to be tens of thousands of pounds.”

Consequently, with the pub closed for an undetermined period, Mr Sinfold has had the difficult task of letting his staff go.

“We’ve lost the majority of our staff who have now found alternative employment.”

Mr Sinfold said he hopes the FSB case study will help small businesses like his recover.

“They’re going to put a report together to send to 10 Downing Street and try to get the message out there. It’s to highlight the impact on these small businesses, and it’s businesses like these that bring the community together.”