Pubs in St Ives in Cambridgeshire count the cost of Storm Henk flood damage

  • Watch a video report by ITV News Anglia reporter Matthew Hudson

Businesses have been left counting the cost after major flood damage in the wake of Storm Henk.

Cambridgeshire received more than half the average rainfall for January in the first five days of the month.

It led to flooding around the River Great Ouse which runs through the town of St Ives.

The historic Oliver Cromwell pub has been left with no beer, after its cellar ended up underwater, ruining stock.

Landlady Gemma Ovendon estimates it is going to cost her thousands of pounds

The sign at the Oliver Cromwell pub

She said: "About three four, five grand maybe, I need to measure it out properly.

"But there are about 25 barrels that are sealed that we're still waiting to find out what we do with them... and that's at least ten more grand. Yeah it's a lot."

Further down the river is the Pike and Eel hotel complex. All five of its holiday chalets are currently out of action.

A large marquee room was also damaged and the riverside bar is still underwater.

Owner Raju Karania said it's going to be at least another week before everything is operational again.

"I've had to close for a few days and it's taken some money to sort it all out now. The time for the marquee I'd say is probably another couple of weeks then hopefully we'll get back to where we should be."

Rainfall figures

County by County

Rainfall Jan 1-5 (% of monthly average received already)

  • Norfolk = 69%

  • Suffolk = 68%

  • Essex = 48%

  • Cambridgeshire = 56%

  • Bedfordshire = 62%

  • Northamptonshire = 56%

  • Buckinghamshire =  59%

Forecasters normally expect a total of around 13% of average at this point in the month.

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Winter rain

Winter rainfall (% of seasonal average received already)

  • Norfolk = 75%

  • Suffolk = 74%

  • Essex = 65%

  • Cambridgeshire = 82%

  • Bedfordshire = 84%

  • Northamptonshire = 91%

  • Buckinghamshire =  80%

You would normally expect a total of around 38% of average at this point in the season.

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Autumn figures

Autumn 2023 rainfall (% of seasonal average received)

  • Norfolk = 146%

  • Suffolk = 148%

  • Essex = 122%

  • Cambridgeshire = 144%

  • Bedfordshire = 126%

  • Northamptonshire = 126%

  • Buckinghamshire =  123%

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The Great Ouse overflowing is not new to St Ives, but in recent years, flood defences have mitigated against it.

In December 2020, other factors led to 200 homes being flooded in the town itself.

And the last 12 months have been expensive ones for insurers.

Helen Mitchell of the Association of British Insurers said the impacts of extreme weather events is why people pay their premiums.

"The final bill can come to quite a lot but that is exactly what insurance is there for. For example for the three storms we saw late last year, Babet, Ciarán and Debbie, insurers are expecting to pay out around £650 million.

Some are warning that climate change may mean people living, or with businesses, in flood risk areas must do more to help themselves.

Stephen Ferguson, Chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council said: "It's no good waiting until the water is lapping at your door and then asking the council to deliver you sandbags.

"It's something you need to be prepared for all year round.

"These floods are happening in the winter but they could also happen in the spring or summer so people need to take action now to make sure they can protect their properties and their businesses."

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