The Cromwell Arms Country Pub in Romsey, Hampshire, has borrowed £100,000 interest free for three months from the bank’s dedicated adverse weather fund, enabling it to remain fully open while its insurance claim is processed.
The pub was first flooded on Christmas Eve, forcing the cancellation of bookings for the Christmas period.
General manager Annaliese Branston said: “We were getting ready for a very busy Christmas and we walked in on Christmas Eve to a foot of water. The most difficult thing was letting people down on Christmas Eve.
“It has continued in one way or another since then – we’ve been flooded another three times since and it’s been a nightmare. When it’s something weather-related you feel helpless.”
Part of the pub’s car park is still off-limits because of the flooding, but Annaliese said she was keen to make sure customers knew the pub, restaurant and boutique accommodation were open.
“We are 100% open apart from our car park,” she said. “We do have provision for people to park elsewhere at the weekend, and we are providing Wellington boots if people need them to get from their cars to the building.”
Storm Business Fund
NatWest and RBS launched the £250m UK Storm Business Fund in January to help any viable business hit by the adverse weather, not just the banks’ existing customers.
Loans can cover the cost of repairs and replacement stock to help businesses return to normal trading. Interest-free loans will be provided for three months, giving businesses the breathing space they need to get back on their feet.
NatWest relationship director Chris Priest said: “We were pleased to be able to support The Cromwell Arms via the Storm Fund. It has done exactly what it is designed to do – help a business trade through difficulties caused by the awful weather we’ve experienced.”
The pub’s managing director Steve Hughes said: “NatWest were very proactive – when Chris saw that we were having these problems he offered us the Storm Fund. The loan will bridge the gap between our insurance claim going in and when we actually receive some funds from the insurance company, which should be three months.
“The Storm Fund has been a fantastic help – it’s helping us to keep going.”
In addition to offering help through the Storm Business Fund, RBS and NatWest have introduced other emergency measures, including three month mortgage repayment holidays for mortgage customers with flooded homes, repayment holidays on existing small business loans, temporary credit card limit increases, waiving of early withdrawal fees and termination costs for customers wishing to access deposits.
Businesses affected by the adverse weather should contact their relationship manager or call the UK Storms helpline on 0800 529 8544. Businesses seeking finance from the UK Storm Business Fund will be subject to a maximum cap of £250,000 per loan.