Flood-hit Arkengarthdale struggling to raise funds to pay for recovery

A remote flood-hit community in the Yorkshire Dales is facing a five-figure funding shortfall for emergency action to protect homes and businesses from further flooding, parish councillors have warned.

Arkengarthdale in the upper Dales suffered widespread damage as a result of the devastating flash floods at the end of last month and “extensive” repairs are now needed.

But the parish council claims it will be at least £10,000 short to clear a four-mile stretch of Arkle Beck of large boulders and other debris dislodged by the freak rainfall after it discovered it would not be considered for a grant, for the time being, from the Two Ridings Community Foundation.

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Arkengarthdale Parish Council estimates that more than £25,000 of work is needed to help residents and businesses recover from the damage and protect them against future flooding.

The flash floods hitting Whaw, a hamlet in Arkengarthdale. Picture courtesy of Arkengarthdale Parish Council.

Repair work has been under way with the help of a £5,000 donation from the Duke of Norfolk, while the council is hopeful of securing a £10,000 emergency loan from Richmondshire District Council.

However, the parish council has been advised by the York-based Two Ridings Community Foundation, which is managing a disaster fund, that parish councils are currently not eligible for a share of the money. The foundation said households affected by the flooding were being prioritised.

Debris clogging a watercourse at Whaw in Arkengarthdale following flash flooding on July 30. Picture courtesy of Arkengarthdale Parish Council.

Stephen Stubbs, chairman of Arkengarthdale Parish Council, said: “We have a clear strategy of what is required in terms of repair and preventative maintenance to help ensure residents and businesses are protected from unexpected heavy rainfall in the future.

“The work needs to be done as a matter of urgency and it is, therefore, very frustrating not to be able to access this funding knowing that the general public have donated money to support the Dales in good faith.”

Jan Garrill, chief executive of the Two Ridings Community Foundation, said she “really sympathised” with parish councils.

However, she explained: “We consulted with our local panel of people who live and work in the community and our first priority has to be the homes that have been flooded.

“When we have a better understanding of demand from homes we will want to try and help them if we can.

“This isn’t a final ‘no’ but we need to understand how much we need for homes and then we can go back to all the parish councils who need help.”

Some £150,000 has been donated to the disaster fund to date, with about £30,000 distributed so far to nearly 100 homes and small businesses.

Automatic payouts of £300 were sent to all flooded households and larger payments to help people in dire financial hardship will follow soon.