'It's a ghost town': People urged to support Shrewsbury firms as residents describe 'draining' days of flooding

Salopians have been issued a rallying call to throw their weight behind businesses and residents that have been devastated by the floods.

Flooding in Shrewsbury. Pic: Sarah Stanley
Flooding in Shrewsbury. Pic: Sarah Stanley

Shrewsbury was again a ghost town for a third day running as all the main roads into town were blocked off, despite the river levels dropping.

After nearly 24 hours of disruption, Network Rail said Shrewsbury rail station lines were deemed safe to reopen.

Network Rail said: "Train operators will reintroduce services in a controlled manner.

"Please check before travel as this may take a little time. Thank you to passengers for understanding."

But business people and community leaders issued a plea for people to get behind them and help them recover from an unprecedented few days of weather woe.

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Mark Davies, owns Darwin's Townhouse in St Julian's Friars and Darwin's Kitchen in St Mary's Place.

While the hotel is flooded and he's working to get it clear, the restaurant is also suffering due to lack of footfall in the town.

Flooding in Shrewsbury. Pic: Sarah Stanley

He urged people to try and get into town and get behind local businesses that have been rocked by the floods.

He said: "We've had to close Darwin's Kitchen today because there's just nobody around. The town's dead.

"If they can't get into town they're not going to want to walk around while the weather's like this."

He is planning to open Darwin's Kitchen again tomorrow, and is hopeful to have some rooms of the hotel open again.


Mark added: "What I'd say to people is to get out there. You've been cooped up in your houses for a few days now. Get out and support local businesses.

"I've got six pumps running at the moment pumping the water back out. The water is now dropping back into the river. I've still got to get my fire system sorted out."

Belle Vue councillor Kate Halliday has been keeping close tabs of goings on in the Longden Coleham area, and paid tribute to the community spirit.

Over the past few days there have been scenes of pensioners being given piggy backs through the water and carers being ferried through in boats to get to elderly folk living in retirement flats. Businesses have come up with innovative ways to try and protect their premises, including nailing barriers to their front doors and creating blockades.

Flooding in Shrewsbury. Pic: Sarah Stanley

Cllr Halliday implored people to get out and support businesses in the area, given they did their best to help residents survive.

She said: "The water is still in the road but it is going in the right direction. That's good news and people are happy about that.

"There has been great community spirit. People have really been working hard to help each other out. There have been so many volunteers helping with boats.

"It's going to be all about clearing up and supporting the businesses now.

"I hope now that people will go out and support all the small businesses. Coleham has been underwater for three days. We've never had it like this. Normally it peaks for a few hours and that's it."


Some residents were simply praying they could at least get home and assess the damage left behind.

Ling Wu, who lives at Broome Place of Chester Street, had to move into his dad's with his young family and hasn't been home since Monday. He said: “It’s very difficult for our family. We just want to go home. I don't know what it's going to be like. I hope not too bad."

Michelle Jones, from Chester Street, added: "I’ve just had enough now. It’s so hard to keep picking yourself up. You want to be community-spirited and keep a stiff upper lip, but it's just draining. Three days of it is too much to take.

"I'm hoping insurance will cover it but my living room will be a mess. I only got new carpets in and did it all out last summer. It's a kick in the teeth."

Flooding in Shrewsbury. Pic: Sarah Stanley

Dilwyn Jones, owner of the Sabrina Boat that tours the town, echoed the sentiments of others calling for businesses to be supported, but warned that it's time for action to stop this happening again.

He said: "It's a ghost town and people need to get out and support businesses again. But it's all well and good saying support, but what about doing something about the river?

"It's supposed to be the start of our season on Saturday. That's not going to be happening is it?

"We need to start putting pressure back on the powers that be. The river gets filled with two or three inches of silt every year. There's no proper management of the river.

"They say that we need to do more with the river and everything, but what if it took out the Welsh Bridge?

"Weather like this is going to come again because the climate is getting worse. It won't be manageable in 10 years."

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