Battered seaside resorts long favoured by West Midlands holidaymakers today pledged to bounce back from ferocious storms and floods.
A massive clean-up operation is under way on the Welsh coast after torrential rain and gale force winds left a trail of devastation which could run into millions of pounds.
The well-known promenade at Aberystwyth, a traditional haunt for holidaymakers from across the region, was badly hit. Other popular tourist areas like Clarach Bay, Aberdovey, Borth and Barmouth were also battered by the storms.
But the defiant seaside resorts today vowed to restore the towns to their former glory in plenty of time for the holiday season. And they urged holidaymakers from the Midlands to come and visit again once the clean-up is complete.
The promise comes as forecasters predicted the rain will ease across the country only to be replaced by freezing temperatures and snow this weekend.
Mayor of Aberystwyth Wendy Morris-Twiddy said: “Without a shadow of doubt we will be back on our feet in time for the holiday season. We look forward to welcoming the people of the Midlands again once the clean up has been done, and our gem of a town has been given a bit of a facelift.”
Caravan parks said they had received a flurry of calls from anxious owners since news the storms hit earlier this week
Structural engineers were today assessing the damage to Aberystwyth’s promenade, where safety fencing has been put up while shingle is cleaned away. Some hotels and cafes were also emptied before the high tides hit. Aberystwyth’s grade II listed Victorian sea front shelter will have to be dismantled, restored and returned to the seafront.
Inspections of all of the buildings along the Ceredigion coastline will be carried out in the coming days. But Ceredigion County Council today said the full extent of the damage and the length of time it will take to fix is not yet known. It is hoped work to repair the promenade will be carried out before the next phase of spring tides in early February.
Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, leader of Ceredigion County Council, said: “We’ve seen a real sense of togetherness here in Aberystwyth, and in other affected communities around the county, with people volunteering and many offers of accommodation and help coming in over the past few days.”
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In the holiday village of Clarach Bay, high tides swamped the beach and left debris strewn across roads. Homes in Borth were hit when waves poured over sea defences.
Neale Sheehan, who moved to Barmouth from Rushall, in Walsall, 11 years ago, said the storms were the worst he had seen.
“There has been quite a bit of flooding, but no loss of life so far, and that is the main thing,” said the 48-year-old garage owner, who is also a lifeboat volunteer. George Turton, who moved from West Bromwich to Tywyn six years ago, said he and his wife Linda had ventured out as little as possible since the storms began. “It has been very rough on the coast,” said 70-year-old Mr Turton, a former Wednesbury councillor. “The biggest problem has been with transport, the rail has been affected.”
The rail line from Barmouth to Machynlleth near Tywyn was damaged.
Meanwhile, an elderly man had to be rescued from the roof of his car after he became stuck in flood water near Bridgnorth in the early hours today. Emergency crews and the water rescue unit were called to the flood near Swancote on the A454, just before Roughton, shortly after 1am.
And in Bewdley, flood barriers were erected yesterday afternoon due to heavy rain.