Rain hits trade in the south west

Bakery businesses in the south west are counting the cost of the torrential rain that fell last weekend causing rivers to burst and flooding along coastal areas.

Dorset and Devon were worst hit, with many of the roads around Weymouth and Dorchester under water, leading to loss of trade for the towns' businesses.

Aidan Chapman, owner of the Phoenix Bakery in Weymouth, described Saturday as a "nightmare day" as the local Seafood Festival, which normally brings in large volumes of extra trade, was called off at the last minute. "The coast road was closed and completely impassable, and we had prepared for a big increase in trade because the Seafood Festival was on, but that was cancelled," he said. "We were left with a fair bit of bread at the end of the day. Luckily we had managed to get all our wholesale orders out at about 6am, so it was just the retail side, but we probably lost around £500 in trade from the shop."

Ottery St Mary in Devon suffered flooding after a month's worth of rain fell in 24 hours. Kevin Wood, owner of the Millstone Bakery in Ottery St Mary, said that while the flood waters did not come near his shop, the business was hit by lack of trade as shoppers stayed in their homes. "We were affected because no-one came out shopping, so we ended up throwing stock away," he said. "Sales were down about 20%. We rely on the town trade and a few roads were closed and when it's chucking it down, people simply don't come out shopping."

In Yorkshire, a flood warning remains in certain areas close to the river Ouse, but Tony Bewick, supervisor at Cornish Pasty Bakery in York said businesses in the city were unaffected.

At the time British Baker went to press, weather warnings remained in force in nine areas of the country, mainly in the south, north east and Scotland.

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