Written evidence submitted by Joan Birkett (FLO0079)
We own property in Ludlow, Shropshire, next to the River Teme, comprising our own home and a small, attached cottage which is let out for short term holiday rentals.
In the summer of 2007 the entire site was flooded. Reinstatement was carried out by our insurers on a like for like basis.
Subsequently, the holiday let was classed as a business (subject to business rates, although we receive small business rate relief). We are no longer able to obtain affordable insurance for this property due to this classification, as FloodRe does not apply to business premises.
We suffered severe flooding again in February this year, to both to our main house and the holiday let. This time we want to reinstate using flood resilient measures, to minimise disruption in the event of a future flood. Like for like reinstatement is not good enough.
We recently applied to Shropshire Council for a Property Flood Resilience grant on the business property, under the following eligibility clause:
Business (including social enterprise) and charitable organisation properties where internal areas of the premise which are critical to the day to day operations (i.e. not storage sheds or warehouses) have been damaged.
We were disappointed to be turned down for this grant and were informed that:
Unfortunately DEFRA have informed us that they do not deem properties used as holiday lets as eligible for the business recovery grants. They advised us that for consistency across the body of schemes available following the February flooding it was decided that these types of properties would not be considered eligible for the PFR grant.
We feel that we are in a no win situation with this property, as being a business, it does not benefit from Flood Re and we are unable to obtain affordable insurance and now we are told that we cannot benefit from any grant help to install flood resilience measures either.
There must be many other holiday let owners facing the same situation.