Businesses on major Sheffield road fear flooding is question of 'when not if'
Businesses on a major Sheffield road say it is a ‘question of time’ before they are hit by flooding damage.
Dramatic footage shared on Wednesday (July 7) showed a sudden waterfall gushing onto Chesterfield Road as a heavy downpour sent rainwater streaming out of the nearby Lidl car park.
But, striking as the video is, businesses along the road in Meersbrook ruefully say it is a common sight – and are calling for the council to act before it leads to them losing their livelihoods.
Guo Xiaolu, owner of the Red Lion Chinese Takeaway, says the flooding is so severe that if it ever rains heavily around 5pm she cannot open for business that night.
"If it rains heavily then I cannot open my door or else water will come into the shop,” she said. “The rain comes down from the Lidl car park.
"We worry about the damage if it gets in. Repairing a water damaged floor is one of the biggest jobs there is. There is already damage in the basement.”
In fact, every business on the road The Star spoke to said they had already suffered water damage in their cellars or had been flooded outright in the past. They all fear what will happen to their stores when a big enough storm rolls into Sheffield.
The flooding has been a regular problem since a series of roadworks were reportedly carried out by Amey PLC in 2019 to create the retail car park for Lidl.
Speaking about the deluge on Wednesday, Lorraine Dixon said the water kept ‘creeping closer’ to the door of her cafe and art supplies shop Artscene. She says her cellar is unusable because of previous flooding.
"It’s so scary to watch,” said Lorraine, who only moved in in November. “There was a fountain coming up from the road and a waterfall coming down from the car park.
"Whenever it rains we can only watch and say ‘please please please don’t flood us’.
“It’s not if it will happen, but when.”
The flooding is most severe at the junction with Albert Road.
Craig Mallinson, manager of specialist train model store Rails of Sheffield, says he and his team had to pull down the shutters on Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, Gail Cooke, of vegan store All Carrot No Stick, said: “It was just horrendous. Even afterwards it was up to the business owners to go out and clear the road of debris – leaves, litter, even faeces. It was disgusting.
"It feels like no one wants to help the businesses down here.
"We’ve been through so much this year already. If it wasn’t for the community of businesses and customers which responds and works together nothing would get done.”
Sheffield City Council has been contacted to ask if it is aware of the problem and whether any works are scheduled to improve drainage.
Up on the Lidl car park, debris and silt from Wednesday’s rain fall has packed one of its only drains, and the area smells of sewage.