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Lowestoft: Flood-hit diving firm Learn Scuba reopens at new premises

16:19 25 February 2014

Andy Rose, right, celebrates the opening of Learn Scuba

Andy Rose, right, celebrates the opening of Learn Scuba's new premises in south Lowestoft with Jackie Baker and Louise Woodward, of Nirvana Fitness. Picture: JAMES BASS

Archant Norfolk © 2014

A scuba diving business that faced permanent closure after its Lowestoft shop was hit by the tidal surge has reopened in new premises.

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An estimated £80,000 worth of damage was caused to stock and equipment at Learn Scuba when its London Road South shop was flooded in December.

On Saturday, it reopened at Nirvana Fitness on South Lowestoft Industrial Estate.

Owner Andy Rose said the last two months had been stressful and the experience had been made worse by the fact his insurer had initially refused to cover him, saying his premises were in a high flood risk area and the policy was invalid.

He faced closing the business for good and had to use his own funds to get it back up and running.

It was only after Mr Rose consulted a solicitor that his insurer agreed to look in to his claim, sending a loss adjuster to the flood-damaged shop for the first time on February 13. However, he still does not know if his claim will be successful.

Mr Rose, who was leading a dive trip overseas when the tidal surge hit, said: “I was faced with: What do I try to save? I tried to salvage whatever I could.

“I had to make a decision about whether to carry on with the business or not.”

Mr Rose said more could have been saved if staff were warned earlier of the flood risk on the day of the surge.

He said divemaster Hayley Arnold, who lived above the shop, raised the alarm when she found an evacuation notice in her letter-box later that evening but by then it was too late and much of it was damaged.

He added: “Nirvana staff have been fantastic and there are lots of people that are very enthusiastic about what were are doing.”

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