Flood grant supports Hambledon business

Lotts General Stores and Tea Room in Hambledon has recently received a helping hand from Government and Winchester City Council in the form of a business support grant.

The business support grant scheme is intended for any business adversely affected by the floods, and not just those which had water in their premises.

The family-run store was one of the many businesses in Hambledon that were affected by the severe weather last winter. In Hambledon the floods went on for the best part of two months and were the worst in the District, with businesses there seeing a 50% drop in trade. Lotts was badly affected as their tea room relies on tourism and passing trade which was disrupted by the road closure.

Hard-working shop owners Martin and Debbie Clark realised that the flooding had cut off the village from the outside world and organised a vital parcel delivery service from their shop.

Martin Clark said:

We used the business support grant to fund works to the interior of the shop area to improve presentation and appeal. These were the next planned works to develop our business but would not otherwise have been possible because of the impact of the floods on business takings last winter.

Cllr Robert Humby, Winchester City Council’s Leader and Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, added:

The grants are a good example of the Government devolving responsibility to a local authority for allocation of the funding at a more local level. We know our communities and are in touch with the needs of our local businesses and what they need to prosper – I personally visited those who were worse affected. We are also working with Hampshire County Council on a whole programme of flood prevention and resilience support for Hambledon.

Other successful applicants have included The Vine pub and Topaz Hairdressers in Kingsworthy, Remarkable PR agency in Winchester and Twyford Playgroup. But they are among only 13 businesses that have so far applied for support grants across the Winchester District.

Thirteen businesses have also applied for and received business rate relief as a result of the flooding, and another two which fell outside the Government scheme criteria have received hardship rate relief from the City Council.

The Council is still urging other businesses affected by the winter floods to come forward and make applications. Business owners who believe they may be eligible for support should contact the Economy and Arts Team at Winchester City Council in the first instance on 01962 848 303 or visit www.winchester.gov.uk/environment/flood-recovery/flood-advice-businesses/