The aftermath of flooding in Ely lingers on as business owners say they have been without phone lines for more than a week

Grape Tree is among a number of Market Street businesses affected. Grape Tree is among a number of Market Street businesses affected.

Friday, August 22, 2014
4:41 PM

Businesses in Ely say they may have missed out on hundreds of pounds worth of trade because of damage to phone lines caused by the recent flooding.

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Market Street, Ely. Picture: Steve Williams.Market Street, Ely. Picture: Steve Williams.

Problems first surfaced in the aftermath of torrential rain on August 8, when 63mm of rain was recorded falling in Ely, with phone lines going dead as a result.

While some have seen services resume since then, others have been without a land line for more than a week, potentially costing them hundreds of pounds in lost trade.

But BT insists it has fixed all issues that were reported to its engineers.

A number of businesses in Market Street say they have been affected, with Simply Flowers, Thing-me-Bobs, Boots, and Grape Tree all reporting problems to BT. There have also been problems reported in Chequer Lane.

Mark Smith, of Simply Flowers, said the fault was “severely hitting” his business.

He said: “Some people have been okay because they can take payments through the internet but we rely on a phone line for our card reader.

“We also get a lot of calls to place orders so with the phone line being down, we could have missed out on hundreds of pounds and I don’t know if I will be able to claim compensation.”

A spokesman for Thing-me-Bobs said the store had been without it’s phone line for a week and that their head office had been in contact with BT to try and get the issue resolved.

A spokesman for Grape Tree added: “Our broadband is still working so we can take payments but we are advertising for a job vacancy and we just don’t know if we have missed out on any phone calls.

“I expect there will be a lot of messages left when the service finally comes back on.”

Boots said that it had been reduced from three phone lines to one in the aftermath of the storms and thanked customers for remaining patient.

A spokesman said: “I just wanted to say thank you to all the customers and patients for being so understanding about the lack of phone at Boots - we usually have three phone lines but have been down to one for the past week, since the bad storms.”

The spokesman added that a fax line normally used to receive prescriptions from out of hours GPs had also been out of action.

BT said: “We had an underground cable which got flooded in the recent storms which caused the loss of services to some users in this area.

“This work was completed on August 14 to restore services to the faults reported. If anyone is still experiencing problems they should ensure that they report to their service provider so that it can be investigated. The provider will also supply updates.”

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