Flood-hit owners say: 'We don't know how long mill will be shut'
PUBLISHED: 12:39 06 November 2008 | UPDATED: 09:58 10 June 2010
THE owners of Otterton's historic watermill have admitted they have no idea when they will reopen following last Thursday's freak floods. Caroline and Simon Spiller and their staff have been working around the clock to clean up the extensive flood damage.
THE owners of Otterton's historic watermill have admitted they have no idea when they will reopen following last Thursday's freak floods.Caroline and Simon Spiller and their staff have been working around the clock to clean up the extensive flood damage.The Spillers were on holiday in Cornwall when the floods hit - and returned to find the car park 'like a river'.Water was two-feet deep and had devastated the bakery, restaurant, shop and art gallery.And five rescued battery chickens, which arrived at the mill only a week before, had to be rescued again - this time by the RSPCA after their newly restored enclosure was washed away.Caroline admitted she didn't know how long the mill would be closed for."Several Otterton residents have said this is the worst flooding in at least 40 years," she said."It's devastating seeing the extent of the damage, but the support from customers, staff, suppliers and other people we work with has been really lovely." Simon said: "It is likely to take several weeks for some of our buildings to be fully sanitised and dried, so we are hoping to trade from temporary premises on site for the next few weeks." He added that the floods, by all accounts, were worse than those of 1968: "Like everyone else caught out by the freak weather in the Otter Valley, the warnings came too late for us to take any precautions. "But any actions taken would have been futile since the depth of the water in most buildings would have over-whelmed our usual sandbags. We even had water bubbling through the cob walls of our restaurant." The clean up at the mill, however, is well underway and is being led by local water damage restoration specialists Munters - and they are even launching a charity called The Friends of Otterton Mill to help restore the thousand-year-old 'gem'. Information on the clean-up, resumption of business and the Friends of Otterton Mill will shortly be available via the Otterton Mill website, www.ottertonmill.com