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East Lancashire businesses count the cost of soggiest summer
EAST Lancashire businesses and attractions have reported seeing a downturn after one of the soggiest summers in more than 100 years.
Among those feeling the pinch have been outdoor activity centres and hotels and shops which have claimed the drop in trade, caused by the horrendous weather, may even result in job losses.
More than 47cms of rain fell in the North West throughout June, July and August, according to the Met Office, making it the second wettest summer since 1910.
The region also experienced the wettest April on record, and the wettest June in more than 100 years, with floods hitting parts of the Ribble Valley, Darwen and Rossendale.
We saw only 365 hours of sunshine over the three months, 130 fewer than the average for the time of year, with the average maximum temperature only reaching 17.4 degrees Celsius.
And the weather is not just causing difficulties for shops and leisure facilities.
Farmers have also reported failed crops this summer, which they believe will ultimately result in higher food prices, and extra expense in feeding livestock.
Eric Dowson, who runs Hawkshaw Farm, in Clayton-le-Dale, said: “Things have not grown and have not been harvested as they should have been.
“Cows have not been out on the grass as long as they would have liked.
“A lot of farmers have not got enough winter feed together to feed their cows, which have been on a winter feeding regime all summer.”
Amateur weatherman Roy Chetham, from Huncoat, said this was the worst summer he had seen in his 40 years of recording.
He said: “It has been very disappointing for everybody. The second half of August has been very unsettled, the wettest since 2008, but also the the warmest since 2004, which is a bit strange.”
Robin Thwaytes, spokesman for the Met Office, said: “In the North West, this is the second wettest summer since 1910, and the wettest since 1956.
“It has been pretty awful, but for the next two weeks there will only be a bit of rain, with two-thirds of the days being dry and fine.”
OUTDOOR Action, in King Street, Blackburn, has seen sales tumble because of the wet weather.
Andy Holford, store manager, said: “We rely on the camping season, but people have not been going camping unfortunately.
“Things have been getting a lot tighter, and staff levels have to drop as well.”
Mrs Dowson’s Ice Cream, based at Hawkshaw Farm, in Clayton-le-Dale, has also not seen as many spontaneous sales.
Owner Amanda Dowson said: “Ice cream sales are increased overall, but that is through a lot of hard work in the earlier part of the year.
“People are not going to cafes and I think they are having a bit more of a difficult time.
“They wait for the summer and it has just not really happened.”
MOST of this year’s summer shows did go ahead as usual but the annual Sunnyhurst Wood Family Gala, due to take place on August 5, had to be cancelled because of health and safety problems brought about by the heavy rain.
Dennis Gillibrand, chairman of the Friends of Sunnyhurst Woods group, which was organising the event, said: “We were very disappointed to have to cancel the event. It was very unfortunate.”
Wellybobs, at Davy Field Farm, Roman Road, Darwen, said it had seen a decline in visitors this year.
Manager Joanne Garth said: “We have had a lot fewer people coming with it being so wet and it has restricted the activities we can do. We had the Circus Mondao here last week, and they usually go on the field, but they had to use our car park as it would sink in the mud.”
Bed & breakfasts
PEERS Clough Farm caters for riders, and their horses, who visit Rossendale to see the countryside.
Owner Chris Thomas said: “The weather has definitely affected people coming.
“It has been quite a challenging year.”
Linda Coxhill, who owns The Town Mouse bed and breakfast, in Royle Road, Burnley, also said things had been a lot quieter this year.
She said: “I put it down to the weather. We have about half the amount of bookings than at this time last year.”