Flood-hit town's main street to reopen

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A town devastated by flooding will reopen for business today, four months after it was submerged by 8ft of water.

Many businesses in Cockermouth were destroyed when torrents of water from the overflowing Rivers Cocker and Derwent tore through Main Street in the Cumbrian town in November.

But after a massive recovery effort, the street is ready to reopen, as are the town's major bridges, Gote and Cocker.

Tony Markley, Cumbria County Council's Cabinet member for highways and economic development, and Tim Heslop, leader of Allerdale Borough Council, will remove the barriers on the road in a landmark moment for the town.

Mr Markley said: "Main Street was right at the epicentre of the floods and the progress that has been made in getting to this point where the road and bridges are reopening has been a fantastic effort from the people in the community and a whole range of agencies and voluntary organisations.

"This reopening is great news for the people of Cockermouth and shows the town is really getting back on its feet and a more normal way of life is being resumed."

Rosie Winterton, Minister for Flood Recovery, said the Government committed more than £10.7 million to the recovery process.

Ms Winterton said: "It is good to hear that Cockermouth's Main Street is open again, as is Wordsworth's House - these are clearly visible signs of recovery.

"There are firm plans in place for continuing the recovery and the Government remains committed to supporting the recovery process."

More than 1,800 properties were affected by the record rainfall of November 18 to 20. Most home-owners are back in their properties but many are living upstairs while their lower floors dry out.

Grants totalling £900,000 have been handed out to 178 businesses affected by the floods.

A temporary road bridge in Workington is expected to open by the end of May, to replace the Northside Bridge, which collapsed under the deluge of water, killing Pc Bill Barker.