FLOODING, as a result of burst pipes, is having a devastating effect on Arbroath businesses.
Ceilings are down in Vallys and Outdoor Action Scotland in High Street, The West Port Bar, the former Rendezvous Cafe in Millgate, and many, more.
Looking through the windows shows large chunks of ceilings have crashed on to floors by the pressure of water on them.
The common factor in these is the thaw reaching burst pipes in the flats above the shops, over which the shop proprietors have no control.
One of the worst affected is the youth charity, Oyster Trust Charity, which runs a Fairtrade craft shop, cafe and youth drop-in in the West Port.
There, amid frantic attempts to salvage some stock, committee member Sheila Dunphy showed the Herald the devastation caused by the water pouring down into the premises.
“It was like a waterfall,” she said.
Computers have been damaged beyond repair, and much shop stock and food are lost.
The basement was well under water on Tuesday night and had been emptied, but it started to fill again and there was still lying water the following day.
Sheila paid tribute to firefighters who managed to stop the water flowing, eventually by turning it off at the stopcock in the street.
A large team of volunteers was working on Wednesday to remove stock as the problem shifts from running water to pervading dampness.
Insurers have been contacted and space heaters are promised but, as Sheila acknowledged, it depends where you are in the queue.
There was a previous, but less serious problem with flooding. However, it appears that three of the four flats are unoccupied, and Sheila is exasperated that they do not even know who the proprietor is after a recent change in ownership.
She said: “If premises are empty at this time of year, why not just turn off the stopcocks?”
The priority now is to get the cafe dried out, and get it functioning again as the youth drop-in.
Proprietors of affected premises in the town are almost certainly all covered by insurance, but there’s no accounting for the loss caused by the lengthy closure that some are clearly facing.