Calls for compensation for flooded West Kirby business

Councillors are calling for a business to be compensated after flood waters got trapped behind a £20m sea wall.

As stormy weather battered Merseyside on 9 April, water from waves crashing against the West Kirby sea wall spilled over the top onto South Parade.

The flooding forced staff at Tanskey’s Bistro (manager, Hannah Cleator pictured above) to be evacuated by the RNLI and the West Kirby Sailing Club to save their boats, caused damage to some properties, moved cars, and trapped people inside their homes.

Long after the tide receded, flood water remained behind the wall. Part of Coronation Gardens was still flooded on 10 April. Though flooding has now cleared, it’s raised questions about the effectiveness of the defence which was completed in 2023 with a final cost of £19.7m, £4.5m of which was funded by Wirral Council.

Many of those who live on the seafront who spoke to the LDRS said they had seen far less damage to their properties and had expected water to come over the top, comparing it to a similar storm in 2013. Unlike that storm, it’s understood there have been no reports of damage to homes so far.

However, the flooding at Tanskey’s has come under fire from councillors calling for compensation for the business, which has been forced to temporarily close.

Hoylake and West Kirby’s councillors asked for it to be “offered to all those who suffered financial loss on Tuesday as the people of West Kirby were rightly believing the wall would protect their property from a relatively modest storm surge.”

On 10 April, Cllr Andrew Gardner said, “There are huge questions to be asked about what happened yesterday. It’s completely unacceptable that a £20m infrastructure scheme to stop flooding apparently seemed to create flooding.”

The ward councillors also called for “further investigation as to how and why the wall failed in its primary purpose” demanding “actions that will come forward to improve the situation next time.”

On the Facebook page for Hoylake and central West Kirby’s councillors on 10 April, Cllr Max Booth posted a video showing floodwater still present in Coronation Gardens and Tanskey’s staff clearing store rooms that “had been completely flooded”. He claimed no Wirral Council officers had been to see the team but a council officer was seen speaking to Tanskey’s staff shortly after the flooding.

He added, “One of our great local businesses has been out of action because of a not-fit-for-purpose white elephant. We will be asking officers to look at compensation schemes for impacted businesses and residences.”

In the video, he said the water had damaged lots of stock and produce, adding, “Where does this water drain? Where does all of this go? Nobody from the council has been here to meet the team to sort out this horrible stagnant water that’s on both sides of the building. We need some action for one of our great businesses that is out of action.”

A Wirral Council spokesperson said, “Council workers and staff from our contractor, Biffa, have been assisting the management at Tanskey’s at the same time as clearing up around the borough after Tuesday’s storm.

“As confirmed previously, the council will undertake a formal assessment of flood defences in Wirral in conjunction with the Environment Agency and – as the Lead Local Flood Authority – will be publishing a Flood Investigation Report  in accordance with section 19 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010. This report will fully look into the circumstances and facts of Tuesday’s tidal event and make any necessary recommendations.”

Image: Hannah Cleator, manager of Tanskey’s Bistro which flooded. Credit: Ed Barnes

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